As we transition into a new year filled with hope thanks to 2012’s ballot wins in Maine, Maryland and Washington, we’re seeing states take advantage of the marriage equality momentum that seems to be swiftly rising. Here are seven states that stand a good chance of passing equality in 2013:



Kelsey and Leigh wed in Newport, R.I.


The sole New England state that does not yet legally recognize same-sex marriage, Rhode Island’s legislative committee is currently in the midst of reviewing the introduced bill. It’s expected to pass the Democrat-controlled House but will face a bit more of a challenge in the Senate.



Real couple Deborah and Beth wed in Riverwoods, Ill.


A push for the legislation’s introduction during January’s lame-duck session was called off because three supporters were not present. Currently, the bill stands in limbo until supporters of the bill, including Gov. Pat Quinn, are sure of a majority. “I think we have the makings of a majority in the Senate and the House,” Quinn said. “This is achievable and attainable and I’m going to work as hard as I can with everyone to make it happen.”


Known as the Equality State, Wyoming lawmakers introduced two bills this week that could be a step forward in equality—one, a marriage-equality measure, the other a civil-union bill. Though the Legislature has seen bills come and fail, the momentum, not to mention the bi-partisan sponsorship, leaves supporters optimistic.



Real couple Anna and Christy wed in Los Angeles.


Gay marriage was legally recognized in California for a hot second until they passed Proposition 8, a statewide ban on same-sex marriage, in November 2008. Now, just four years later, Prop 8 has been sent to the Supreme Court, along with the other anti-gay legislation, DOMA. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on March 27, 2013 with a full ruling in June. If ruled unconstitutional, the ban will be lifted, and quite possibly pave the way for legalization across the nation.


The constitutional ban’s defeat at the polls last November showed us that equality stands a chance in the Midwest state. Supporters of marriage equality are preparing to roll out House and Senate proposals as early as February. Legislative leaders who shied away from the issue earlier are open to voting on a measure this spring.



Gay-friendly Hawaii shocked the nation when it passed a constitutional ban against gay marriage in 1998. Ironically, a loop hole in the amendment may very well be what allows same-sex marriage. “By virtue of the 1998 amendment, the Legislature has a monopoly over what the configuration of marriage is going to look like in Hawaii, including whether marriage will be opened to others,” said Steven Levinson, a former associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court. The amendment’s definition of allowing the legislature to define marriage leaves hope for the possibility. Though Hawaii Legislature is set to open on January 16, they’re expected to wait for the Supreme Court decisions before moving forward.



Sharda and Anna wed in Jersey City, N.J.


New Jersey couples would likely be celebrating their one-year anniversary next month if it wasn’t for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who vetoed a bill in February 2012 that had passed both the House and the Senate. New Jersey activists are tackling the equality battle on two ends. The first is by introducing a bill, AB-3611, which seeks a voter referendum to the ballot this year. Upon his veto, Christie said that he would sign the legislation if it had been approved by popular vote. Secondly, they’re attacking with signatures. Supporters have until 2014 to acquire enough signatures to override the governor’s veto. This double punch gives us double the hope for equality in the Garden State.


Gov. Jack Markell’s enthusiasm leads us to believe that marriage equality is a possibility for 2013. “The governor referred in his inaugural address to the civil rights advances Delaware made in his first term,” Spokesperson Catherine Rossi told the Washington Blade. “He expects that Delaware will build on that progress in his second term. We expect part of that progress to be a marriage equality bill.”


Photo: Real Wedding Kelsey and Leigh, photography by Carla Ten Eyck Photography; Real Wedding Deborah and Beth, photography by Erin Leppo Photography; Real Wedding Anna and Christy, photography by David Michael Photography;Real Wedding Anna and Hannah, photography by Torie McMillian Photography; Real Wedding Sharda and Anna, photography by Ron Soliman Photojournalism