Thursday, May 14, 2009

UPDATE: Same-Sex Marriage Debate Begins in Rhode Island State House

UPDATE: The House Judiciary Committee heard public comments today on Rhode Island's same-sex marriage bill, and as usual, many opposed showed up along with those in favor (there's also bill being considered to ban same-sex marriage).

Rhode Island, being staunchly Catholic and target by NOM, is a huge challenge for marriage equality proponents, since the past 12 years the bill has never passed the committee to a floor vote.

State Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), flanked by family members, expressed his outrage at the lack of action taken by his fellow legislators on the issue of marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Ferri married his husband, Tony Caparco, in Canada in 2006.

"It is embarrassing and insulting that I have to come here before you again to beg for the constitutional right of Rhode Island’s gay and lesbian citizens to marry the people we love," Ferri said. "It is deeply personal, and after 12 years of getting the same runaround and the bill dying in committee, I am tired of this issue not demanding your attention and action."

Read full story at Edge Boston.
The debate over marriage equality was revisited in the Rhode Island State House Wednesday, as that states House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on two proposed bills. One bill would allow same-sex couples to wed in Rhode Island; the other would prohibit gay marriage by adding an amendment to the state’s constitution.

Thirty-one of Rhode Islands 75 House members have cosponsored that states marriage equality bill, but Rhode Islands powerful Roman Catholic lobbies ardently opposes the measure. Providence’s Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has been pushing hard in his opposition as well and using scare tactics, telling Rhode Island Catholics their religious freedoms are in danger.

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri is also adamantly against marriage equality. Last month Carcieri announced he and his wife had joined the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and appeared at an event announcing a NOM ad blitz in Rhode Island.

In the previous 12 years the Marriage Equality issue has come before the Rhode Island legislature, it has never made it pass the committee level. No decisions were made Wednesday about the fate of this year’s bill.

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