Standing up for marriage in Rhode Island
May 03, 2011 at 10:46 am
By Jamie Thilman, Freedom to Marry's Communications Intern
Last week, Democratic Speaker of the Rhode Island House, Gordon Fox, announced
that he would abandon a push to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, claiming such a bill lacks any "realistic chance" of passing this year. Instead, the openly gay speaker has opted to put forth a bill that would legalize civil union. As a result, hundreds of Rhode Islanders who are unwilling to accept second-class status for their fellow citizens are expected to let their voices be heard at a rally to be held today, Tuesday, May 3, at 4:30pm outside the Statehouse.
Time and again states that have created civil union as a means of both giving and withholding – providing select legal protections while withholding the freedom to marry and all its meaning – have found that civil union falls far short of marriage with all its tangible and intangible significance in our lives. Many of those states – Connecticut, New Hampshire, and even Vermont, which first created civil union – have since pushed past civil union to marriage, recognizing the inadequacy and unfairness of a separate and unequal status. Just last August, a credible poll concluded that nearly 60% of Rhode Islanders believe in the freedom to marry, and with unwavering support from Governor Lincoln Chafee, now is the time to grant same-sex couples all the rights, responsibilities, and protections that only a marriage can provide.