The 9 States That Might Legalize Gay Marriage Next

By: Daniel Villarreal

Thanks to the 2012 elections, LGBT people can now marry in nine U.S. states. But what about the 41 other states?

Amazing political analyst Chris Geidner recently issued his predictions on which seven states might decriminalize same-sex marriage next (left), and Josh Israel from Think Progress added Colorado and Ohio in his forecast earlier this year.

By the way, we say "decriminalize" because in states where same-sex marriage isn't legal, it's literally a crime; one that can even land you in jail, but we digress.

Here's a quick rundown of Geidner and picks and reasons for each one:

1) California could get gay marriage back if the Supreme Court knocks down the anti-gay ballot measure known as Proposition 8 that infamously took away marriage rights from LGBT couples in 2008.

2) New Jersey's gay marriage advocacy groups are pushing legislators to support a marriage bill with enough votes to override the inevitable veto that Republican Governor Chris Christie would issue if it came to his desk (just as he did earlier this year).

3) Hawaii governor Nic Abercrombie vowed not to defend his state's law criminalizing same-sex marriage, even though the state Supreme Court declared it consititutional in August... but it remains to be seen whether voters or legislators ultimately conclude the state's decades-long battle for queer matrimony.

4) Delaware passed civil union legislation in 2011, making full marriage a possibility in 2013 (especially since the state's governor has pledged to push for it as early as this coming August).

5) Rhode Island's senate president has promised a judiciary committee vote for marriage equality in 2013 and, if it gets enough votes, the state's pro-marriage governor would likely sign it into law, especially since RI is the only state in New England that still criminalizes same-sex marriage — quite unfashionable.

6) Minnesota voters just rejected a constitutional amendment criminalizing same-sex marriage in their state and the state's marriage equality organization plans to put forth legislation that would decriminalize gay nuptials in the coming year — but can it pass the same Republican-led congress that sought to enshrine bigotry in the state constitution? It can if opposed congresspeople get painted as retrogressive bigots that are an embarassment to the state (which they are).

7) Illinois could be the first state to tackle a gay marriage fight with a bill rumored to hit their assembly floor in January of 2013. That would be awesome, although opponents of the bill have already assembled under the disgustingly named "Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage" — yeah, won't someone please think of the children?!! Especially the straight ones!

8) Ohio voters could help repeal the state's constitutional amendment criminalizing same-sex marriage, but they'll still need to create a law decriminalizing it after that, quite a tall order for a state where only 37 percent of the citizens support LGBT nuptials.

9) Colorado natives, on the other hand, supports legal recognition for same-sex couples by 70 percent. Ultimately, voters will have to strike down the state's 2006 constitutional amendment that criminalizes marriage equality, but in the meanwhile the Democratic-led legislature could pass a comprehensive civil unions law that would still give LGBT citizens all the state's marriage benefits anyway.

So while it's too early to pop the champagne in any of these states, you can at least discuss the possibilities of gay marriage with your stateside pals while waiting for the bills to sashay their ways onto each state's congressional catwalk — you congresspeople betta werque!