Tag archives: Rhode Island

State of the States: Rhode Island

by Family Research Council

March 17, 2011

Same-sex “marriage” bills (H 5012 and S 29) have been heard in both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, but have not yet received a vote. Gordon Fox, openly homosexual and the speaker of the largely Democratic House, wants to delay the vote on the House version of the bill until he can be sure it has enough supporting votes to pass. This hesitance to move forward with same-sex marriage is good news for supporters of marriage defined as one man and one woman.

Even if the votes are obtained to pass the House, Senate passage is far from certain especially since the Senate President, Theresa Paiva-Weed, opposes same-sex marriage. Governor Lincoln Chafee, however, supports the bills, even urging their passage in his inaugural address, and has pledged his signature should one of them reach his desk.

These two same-sex marriage bills are not the only legislation regarding marriage and relationships in Rhode Island. Also heard in the Senate Judiciary committee last Thursday were two constitutional amendments defining marriage (S 162 and S 115). Senate Bill 162 defines the only valid marriage in RI as between a man and a woman, while Senate Bill 115 also defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but leaves open the possibility of establishing civil unions for same-sex couples. Should either of these bills pass (or the House version, H 5260), it would be submitted to the citizens of Rhode Island for a vote.

Two bills regarding domestic unions between persons of the same sex have also received a hearing. Senate Bill 376 would legalize domestic unions between any two adult spouses regardless of sex, and Senate Bill 377 would establish reciprocal beneficiary agreements for any two adults who do not fit within the legal definition of marriage, essentially granting the rights, benefits, and protections of marriage to same-sex couples.

Also in both House and Senate committees are bills that further expand the definition of “hate crimes,” making the motivation behind a crime a crime itself and including gender identity and sexual orientation as a protected class (H 5089 and S 121). In addition, several bills implementing abortion restrictions or unborn child protections are currently in committee.

Let Rhode Island Vote

by Christopher Plante

November 19, 2010

The fact that the people of Iowa, when allowed to vote, threw out three of the judges that had overreached their authority by mandating homosexual-marriage on all Iowans, is of great encouragement. Every time the people get to vote on the issue they choose to protect marriage between one man and one woman. Ordinary men and women, mothers and father, know that children have a right to know and be known by their mother and father, and when given the choice they protect marriage.

Rhode Islanders want to have the opportunity to vote on marriage as well. In a public opinion poll conducted in August of this year over 80 percent of eligible voters polled stated they want the marriage issue on the ballot, irrespective of their personal beliefs on the issue. Rhode Islanders do not believe a small group of legislators, or worse judges, should decide such a crucial issue. We have had the opportunity to vote on ports, casinos, and even changing the name of the State; Rhode Islanders want to vote on marriage. And this is not new, public opinion polls conducted in June of 2009 and again in December of that year returned very similar results, with well over 34 of the respondents saying, Put it on the ballot.

The National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island will make every effort to insure that Governor-elect Chafee and the new Assembly hear and follow the voice of the people.

This is particularly crucial given the economic morass that Rhode Island still faces; this is no time to bog down our State government with an issue that impacts less than 5 percent of the population. According to the Providence Journal, October 17, 2010, For example, projected state budget gaps run above 10 percent through fiscal 2015. For the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2011, the forecast deficit is $320 million, largely because federal stimulus money that has supported the last three budgets is running out. That fiscal 2012 budget is the first one that will be crafted by the governor and General Assembly that take office in January. The projected shortfalls get worse as time goes by. The gaps are $416 million in fiscal year 2013, $457 million in fiscal 2014 and $536 million for fiscal 2015.

Even Governor-elect Chafee understands the challenge he faces. According to the Journal on November 7, 2010, A day after Rhode Island voters elected him their next governor, Lincoln D. Chafee stood in front of a bank of reporters in his Warwick campaign headquarters taking questions. Was this redemption? one television reporter asked, for losing his 2006 reelection bid to the U.S. Senate? Chafee paused. Then grinned. To inherit 12-percent unemployment? A $360-million budget deficit? The crowd, including a dozen campaign workers, chuckled. I dont look at it as redemption, Chafee said. I like a challenge.

Governor-elect Chafee and the new Assembly must not bog down the State government with the divisive and grid-locking issue of homosexual-marriage. Instead they should heed the voice of the people who elected them and put the homosexual-marriage question on the ballot.