We all know 2012 was a massive year for gay marriage in the United States and as a consequence the festive season saw many of those state level victories coming into force. With the mad rush of the Christmas season, you might have just missed this news and other gay marriage related stories, so below are 5 such stories to cheer you up in the post-holiday lull.
1) Gay Marriage Law Comes into Force in Maryland – January 1 saw the coming into effect of Maryland’s marriage equality law with couples across the state marrying within the very first few minutes of 2013.
One such couple, Jim Scales and Bill Tasker, who have been together for 35 years, allowed themselves to be filmed as the the first to marry at Baltimore City Hall. Watch the heartwarming video below:
2) A Very Reddit Marriage — Reddit user Chris Riley and his partner Shawn have made international headlines after Chris invited hundreds of Reddit users to his Maryland wedding which is expected to be held on April 13.
Speaking to the BBC, Chris clarified that he and Shawn had already married in Washington DC, but now wanted to reaffirm their marriage in their home state of Maryland.
Chris posted to Reddit last year that any users who voted in favor of marriage equality in November would be welcome at his 2013 wedding. He didn’t expect this post to garner much attention, but the post quickly went viral.
Riley says that, even so, he still plans to welcome those hundreds of strangers who have taken him up on his offer, saying, “We’ve reached out to a whole larger, more broad audience that we wouldn’t have had necessarily. They can see that we are very real and that we live very normal lives.”
3) Maine Welcomes Same-Sex Couples to Marriage – December 29 saw Maine’s gay marriage law come into force. Watch the first couples take the so-called plunge below:
Maine in 2012 did what many thought still impossible and, indeed, made history when voters initiated and then passed a referendum vote on legalizing marriage equality.
4) President Obama Calls on Illinois to Legalize Marriage Equality — A spokesperson for President Obama, in a rare case of his explicitly lending his support to state level legislation, told the Chicago Sun that Obama would support a bill to legalizing marriage equality in Illinois where he was once a state legislator:
“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.
“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” Inouye said.
Illinois’ Senate lawmakers convened on Wednesday and it is expected that legislation to legalize same-sex marriage could be introduced within a matter of days. The legislation, the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” is set to be introduced by state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), where they hope to bring about a vote during the January lame-duck session.
It remains unclear whether there is enough support among legislators to pass such a bill, but with Obama’s support — which was deemed a significant boost in Maryland — the attempt may find new energy.
Similar moves are rumored to be underway in Rhode Island and even Minnesota where in November 2012 voters rejected a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
5) A Gay Pro-Bowler Kisses his Husband on ESPN After Dramatic Win — It will soon be that such stories are no longer groundbreaking, but when Scott Norton won the 2012 PBA Chameleon Championship in Las Vegas, which was held in November but was only shown on TV this Sunday, ESPN did not shy away from commenting, in a delightfully frank manner, on Norton’s husband.
You can read more about the coverage here and watch the video of Scott’s win and celebratory kiss with his partner below:
Image credit: Thinkstock.