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"Block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand"

As Maine (Bigots: +1) goes, so, it seems, goes little else.

There have been a number of relatively obscure but enticing stories in the last few days, both in the United States (Utah, Rhode Island) and around the world (Argentina(!), Slovenia).  Continue as I keep score, bringing you up-to-date on Washington State, New York and New Jersey as well.

Washington State passed Referendum 71, 'everything but marriage',
and the vote total now stands at Yes: 53.14% No: 46.86%, a larger differential
than Maine's Question 1 lost by (52.82% - 47.18%).  There are still about 10,000 votes left to count, most of them from King County, which went more than 2:1 for Ref. 71. The final vote total should be even more favorable, if only slightly!

Equal Rights: +1/2

In Rhode Island, the anti same-sex marriage Governor seems to now agree in principle with the idea of a domestic partnership law, similar to Washington State:

... after meeting privately Thursday with members of a gay rights group,
Carcieri emerged from his Statehouse office and told reporters he
would consider backing a domestic partnership system, perhaps one
similar to an expansion approved this month by voters in Washington
state. It offers gay couples the right to use sick leave to care for a
domestic partner, and rights related to adoption, child custody and
child support.

Carcieri said Friday that domestic partnerships are different from
civil unions because a partnership system benefits gay couples and
other nontraditional households, for example, two widows living
together to save money.

Equal Rights: +1/4

In Utah, the Mormon Church backed Salt Lake City's Gay Rights Ordinance, as unbelievable as that might sound:

Gay-rights activists in Salt Lake City got the backing of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a successful push for city
nondiscrimination ordinances -- a sign of the complex landscape of the
gay-rights debate.

On Tuesday night, the Mormon church publicly supported the ordinances
banning discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing and the
workplace. The City Council passed the ordinances unanimously...

In a presentation to the council, church leaders said they supported
antidiscrimination laws but would still oppose gay-marriage rights...

Church spokesman Michael Otterson said... "The church
remains unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of
marriage between a man and a woman."

Gay-rights advocates welcomed the church's support of the
nondiscrimination ordinances.  

Equal Rights: +1/4

In New York State, there are rumors that equal marriage rights will
be put the test in the New York Senate on Tuesday
.  Earlier, it had been
reported that Governor Patterson had secured a commitment to get a vote
by the end of the year.  Now it looks like it could happen quickly.  This
is both good and bad news, as while some supporters claim the votes are
there to pass the legislation, others say the opposite.  In any case, if
a vote is finally taken, at least everyone will know where each and every
New York State Senator stands and the issue, and that information will be
worth a lot if the battle has not been won.

Senate Democrats are shooting for next Tuesday to take another shot at
bringing the gay marriage bill up for a vote...

   "I'm hopeful it's Tuesday; We're going to keep pushing for Tuesday
to be the day," Sen. Diane Savino told me yesterday after the Coney
Island press conference at City Hall...

According to NY1, there are now 21 "yes" votes and 22 "no" votes on
the marriage bill.

Advocates insist they actually have more support in the Democratic
conference - perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 yeses - since
a few lawmakers don't want to go public with their positions unless
they absolutely have to.

Those charged with moving Republican votes tell me they believed three
senators were gettable, while three others are in discussions but
haven't committed...

Equal Rights: +1/2

And then there's New Jersey.  Long ago, everyone was told that
the vote on equal marriage rights would come in the lame-duck session
of the State Legislature, once the election was over.  Now the backpedalling has begun:

State Sen. Paul Sarlo said he would not bring up the bill in the
Judiciary Committee he chairs unless enough votes exist to pass it on
to the full Senate. The Bergen County Democrat said that, currently,
the bill does not have sufficient support in the committee for a
recommendation to the Senate.

"Today, as I stand here, we do not have the votes in the Judiciary
Committee," Sarlo said after he and Gov.-elect Chris Christie toured
the Xanadu entertainment complex under construction in the
Meadowlands. "Until somebody can demonstrate that we have the votes in
the Judiciary Committee, it will not be posted."

Bigots: +1

In world news, there's an item from a place I was rather surprised at.

Argentina.  A judge in Buenos Aires has ruled that same-sex marriage must be legalized, and the Mayor of the city has decided not to contest the ruling.  Unfortunately, the judgement does not extend to the rest of the country.  

(CNN) -- The government of Argentina's capital will not appeal a court
decision this week that legalizes same-sex marriage, Buenos Aires
Mayor Mauricio Macri said Friday.

The court ruled that two articles in the city's civil code that say
only people of different sexes can get married are illegal. The court
decision applies only to Buenos Aires. Same-sex unions in most of the
rest of Argentina remain illegal.

"What we have to learn is to live in liberty without violating the
rights of others," he said.

Equal Rights: +1

And in an otherwise bleak article I just discovered describing the plight of LGBT people in the Balkans, this bit of hope in Slovenia shone through:

Back in 2006, Mitja and his partner brought a court case asserting
that Slovenian law on same-sex partnerships was discriminatory when
compared to marriage. On July 2 this year, Slovenia's Constitutional
Court gave parliament six months to make same-sex civil partnerships
more equal to marriage
.

Equal Rights: +1/2

You can read about other items from last week concerning Oregon, the AMA, Washington DC and Mary Poppins (worth listening to!) here, and concerning Portugal, California and DC here.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:36 AM PST.

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