Same-sex marriage proposals moving in two Midwestern states

Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013

Within a few months, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases involving the volatile issue of same-sex marriage. In the meantime, two Midwestern states are being watched closely for the possibility of legislative action before a decision by the court.

In Illinois, as of early April, a bill legalizing same-sex marriage had been approved by the state Senate but did not yet have enough votes in the House. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign SB 10, according to the Peoria Journal Star. Illinois already has a civil-union law, which extends to same-sex couples the legal rights and benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples. But according to the group Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a civil union “omits federal protections as well as the dignity, clarity, security and power of the word marriage.”

In Minnesota, where voters rejected a ban on same-sex marriage last year, a bill legalizing it (HF 1054/SF 925) was passed by House and Senate committees in March.

Iowa is the only Midwestern state where same-sex marriage is legal (due to a state Supreme Court decision). Wisconsin offers a domestic partnership registry. Constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and civil unions have been passed in Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.