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Equal marriage comes to New York

Unitarian Universalists also cheer civil unions in Ill., R.I.; continue advocacy in Colo.
By Donald E. Skinner
Fall 2011 8.15.11

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Marriage equality became law in New York in June, and civil unions are now legal in Illinois and Rhode Island. A civil union effort in Colorado failed earlier this year, but Unitarian Universalists there are ready to back the issue next year.

Civil unions became legal in Illinois as of June 1 and in Rhode Island on July 1.

On June 23, New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize same-gender marriage. The New York action came during the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Charlotte, N.C., and prompted one New York state minister, the Rev. Michael Tino of the UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester at Mount Kisco, N.Y., to offer a responsive resolution at GA raising up the role of UUs and other faith groups in encouraging legislators to vote for equality.

He was joined by two UUA Trustees, John Hawkins and David Friedman, who represent parts of New York state. GA delegates resoundingly approved the resolution, which stated in part, “. . . the 2011 General Assembly celebrates with the people of New York on the occasion of this historic victory and expresses enthusiastic joy for this step toward equality.”

In Illinois, the Rev. Emily Gage, minister of Faith Development at Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill., said of the new law, “. . . it’s a great feeling to feel like we’re being legitimately recognized by the state.”

Colorado UU congregations lost a battle in April when state representatives killed a civil union bill, but they are already lined up for a renewed effort next winter. “Let it be known that the First Unitarian Society will continue to Stand on the Side of Love,” said the Rev. Mike Morran of Denver’s First Unitarian Society.

This article, which appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of UU World, was abridged from three articles published earlier on uuworld.org: “New York UUs celebrate marriage equality,” 8.1.11; “Civil unions become law in Illinois,” 6.13.11; and “Undeterred, Colorado UUs prepare for new marriage-equality battle in 2012,” 4.25.11.

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