SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — After Election Day, when Maryland, Maine and Washington became the first three states to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box, advocates of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples are eyeing Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Jersey as the next battlegrounds on the matter.
In Rhode Island, advocates tell the Associated Press that after the election of three additional “yes” votes to the state Senate, and several new marriage supporters elected to the state House, where openly gay Democrat Gordon Fox is speaker, a Gov. Lincoln Chafee-backed marriage bill is likely to succeed.
‘‘This election shows there’s been a real change on this issue,’’ Speaker Fox told The Associated Press. ‘‘I’m hopeful. There’s definitely a trend here. There’s a wave and we should ride it.’’
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said marriage — which he calls “inevitable” — will be taken up in 2013. Illinois same-sex marriage supporters announced last week that “momentum” from Election Day victories would “lend a hand” to efforts there to win, while the Chicago Tribune called the momentum for same-sex marriage “unstoppable.”
“It looks like the tides probably have shifted and so the real question should be put to [Gov. Chris] Christie and [state Sen. Christopher] Bateman,” gay New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora told politics blog njspotlight.com regarding marriage prospects in New Jersey after the election. “Do they see the tides changing and are they willing to change their view?”
In addition, a New York Times analysis names as other possible bright spots in the future of same-sex marriage, Minnesota — where an anti-gay marriage amendment was rejected by voters — Oregon — where voters may overturn a 2004 constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage — and Hawaii — where a judge, in August, rejected a lawsuit over same-sex marriage.