Even with an openly homosexual House Speaker and sympathetic governor, the people of Rhode Island were able to put the brakes on the push to legalize same-sex “marriage” in the Ocean State. Last week, Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence) admitted that same-sex “marriage” was dead for the year, and decided instead to throw his support behind civil unions, much to the chagrin of gay activists.
According to Fox, the civil unions bill is currently being drafted and “will soon be ready for introduction and public inspection.” Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, an opponent of same-sex “marriage,” issued a statement reiterating her support for civil unions. Gov. Chaffee has also agreed to sign a civil unions bill into law, saying he hopes that it is just a first step.
Gay marriage advocates, however, are not as willing to compromise. Marriage Equality Rhode Island issued a statement expressing its “staunch opposition to civil unions.”
Among the groups that were integral in activating the grassroots were Bishop Thomas Tobin, Diocese of Providence, the Hispanic Pastoral Association, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Marriage. Of course, without the support of ordinary Rhode Islanders who contacted their legislators, this victory would not have been possible.
MFI maintains our position that same-sex “civil unions” are not a viable alternative. If these civil unions are available only to same-sex couples and afford all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage, then all that is being protected is the word “marriage.” We also firmly believe that civil unions are the direct gateway for courts to mandate full same-sex “marriage” as was the case in Connecticut. We stand with Bishop Tobin and NOM-RI in supporting reciprocal beneficiary legislation that packages certain rights into one law for any two adults who are dependent on each other and ineligible for marriage, irrespective of a sexual relationship.
For more on the situation in Rhode Island, read this article in the Providence Journal.