Respect carries rewards not measured in dollars

Business Insurance
July 6, 2009
A recent report by the Williams Institute concludes that the legalization of freedom to marry could hand New England states an economic advantage. The underlying research follows an idea that many employers embraced more than a decade ago: Equality attracts well-educated, creative professionals whose abilities drive company growth. In a world where competition is everything, local economies, like employers, need every advantage they can muster. But equality isn't just a business argument. Treating people with respect, no matter their differences, makes us all better human beings. [Link]

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No Floor Vote for Freedom to Marry in Rhode Island

The Associated Press
June 28, 2009
Rhode Island seems almost certain to remain the only New England state that does not recognize gay marriage after measures legalizing same-sex unions stalled just before the part-time General Assembly ended the bulk of its annual work. This despite a poll released by Brown University last month which showed 60 percent of registered Rhode Island voters would support a law allowing gay couples to marry, and 75 would support a law allowing civil unions. [Link]

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Gay Pride Parade marks 40 years after NYC uprising

The Associated Press
June 28, 2009
Decades after a riot at a Greenwich Village bar sparked a movement for equal rights, gay New Yorkers celebrated their gains at Sunday's gay pride parade and lamented the state has not legalized marriage equality. The celebration was tempered by the knowledge that other states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, have legalized the freedom to marry before New York. "Hopes and dreams and expectations have been raised, and there is nothing worse than for people to have their hopes die out, to have the rug pulled out from under them," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York City's most prominent openly gay elected official. Gov. David Paterson said he remains hopeful that the state Senate will pass a same-sex marriage bill - if it can resolve the partisan stalemate that has paralyzed it. [Link]

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It is time for us to make marriage equality in Rhode Island a reality

Bay Windows
June 17, 2009
Earlier this month, the New Hampshire legislature took another step in our country’s ongoing struggle to ensure full equality for gays and lesbians by voting to permit same-sex couples in their state to legally enter into civil marriages. The vote makes New Hampshire the sixth state in the country - along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine - to provide equal marriage rights to all its residents, and it now leaves Rhode Island as the only New England state that does not permit the freedom to marry. To me, the issue of marriage equality boils down to a question of basic fairness. [Link]

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Senator Dodd: Rights, responsibilities and love

Meriden Record Journal
June 21, 2009

US Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut writes in support of the freedom to marry:
"Public officials aren’t supposed to change their minds. But I firmly believe that it’s important to keep learning. Last week, while I was in Connecticut meeting with members of the gay and lesbian community from across the state, I had the opportunity to tell them what I’ve learned about marriage, and about equality.

While I’ve long been for extending every benefit of marriage to same-sex couples, I have in the past drawn a distinction between a marriage-like status (“civil unions”) and full marriage rights.

The reason was simple: I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And as many other Americans have realized as they’ve struggled to reconcile the principle of fairness with the lessons they learned early in life, that’s not an easy thing to overcome.

But the fact that I was raised a certain way just isn’t a good enough reason to stand in the way of fairness anymore.

The Connecticut Supreme Court, of course, has ruled that such a distinction holds no merit under the law. And the Court is right.

I believe that effective leaders must be able and willing to grow and change over their service. I certainly have during mine – and so has the world. Thirty-five years ago, who could have imagined that we’d have an African-American President of the United States?

My young daughters are growing up in a different reality from what I did. Our family knows many same-sex couples – our neighbors in Connecticut, members of my staff, parents of their schoolmates. Some are now married because the Connecticut Supreme Court and our state legislature have made same-sex marriage legal in our state.

But to my daughters, these couples are married simply because they love each other and want to build a life together. That’s what we’ve taught them. The things that make those families different from their own pale in comparison to the commitments that bind those couples together.

And, really, that’s what marriage should be. It’s about rights and responsibilities and, most of all, love.

I believe that, when my daughters grow up, barriers to marriage equality for same-sex couples will seem as archaic, and as unfair, as the laws we once had against inter-racial marriage.

And I want them to know that, even if he was a little late, their dad came down on the right side of history.

I have always been proud of my long record fighting for the civil rights of the LGBT community. I’ve co-sponsored legislation to strengthen hate crime laws and end discrimination in the workplace. I’ve spoken out against “don’t ask, don’t tell” and always supported equal rights for domestic partnerships.

But I am also proud to now count myself among the many elected officials, advocates, and ordinary citizens who support full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

I understand that even those who oppose discrimination might continue to find it hard to re-think the definition of marriage they grew up with. I know it was for me.

But many of the things we must do to make our union more perfect – whether it’s fighting for decades to reform our health care system or struggling with a difficult moral question – are hard. They take time. And they require that, when you come to realize that something is right, you be unafraid to stand up and say it.

That’s the only way our history will progress along that long arc towards justice."

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In Rhode Island, some wary as tide of marriage equality rises at border

The Boston Globe
June 15, 2009

Massachusetts and Connecticut legalized the freedom to marry as a result of judicial decisions in 2003 and 2008, while Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire followed this spring by legislative action. The slower pace in Rhode Island, where the state Senate voted last week to allow same-sex partners to make funeral arrangements, has frustrated some local activists, many of whom rallied outside the State House in Providence last weekend to call for immediate equality. "They still have a chance to be part of the vanguard," said attorney Karen L. Loewy, the Rhode Island point person for GLAD, which won the lawsuits in Massachusetts and Connecticut that legalized marriage equality in those states. "Rhode Island is well on its way." [Link]

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Gay New Yorkers Head to Greenwich for Weddings

The New York Times
June 10, 2009
They wanted a New York wedding. “Our lives are here; our friends are here,” said Janis Castaldi, 56, who lives in Westchester County with Lizz Endrich, the woman she married on May 21. But New York has not approved marriage equality. And so another couple from outside Connecticut made what is becoming a familiar pilgrimage to this border town of wealth and privilege, the first municipality over the state line by Interstate 95 or Metro-North. [Link]

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New England economy could see marriage equality boost

Reuters
June 4, 2009
The expansion of marriage equality across New England could deliver an economic windfall by attracting a youthful "creative class" of workers to a region with an aging population. The freedom to marry could also serve as a recruiting tool for universities, health care companies and financial services firms that dominate the region's economy, experts said.[Link]

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Marriage for Gay Couples: Faiths’ Views are Wide-ranging

The Stamford Advocate
May 11, 2009
With the Roman Catholic Church fighting hard for a provision exempting religious organizations that oppose marriage equality from the requirements of the law, the media often painted a picture of a black-and-white debate between marriage equality advocates and the religious opposition. In fact, the spectrum of positions on same-sex marriage within Christian and Jewish denominations in the state is much more nuanced and wide-ranging. [link]

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New England’s Identity Bolsters Acceptance of Freedom to Marry

Boston Globe
May 11, 2009
New England is a collection of states where media markets overlap and families span borders. As a result, residents have been exposed to both the idea and the reality of legal unions of same-sex couples for almost a decade, since Vermont approved civil unions in 2000. [link]

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