Thursday, January 03, 2013

Rhode Island May Be Next

Now that we've added three more states onto the Equality side of the check list, it looks like more might be following suit.

This morning, Rhode Island state Representative Arthur Handy will introduce legislation allowing gay couples to marry in the state. Handy, a Democrat, said the bill is already drafted, but that he needs Wednesday's second legislative day to gather signatures from co-sponsors, who will include openly gay Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox.

One of the key hurdles, as always, will be how the bill addresses concerns from religious groups, but Handy promises, as he has promised every single time he's introduced his legislation, that the bill will contain language that grants religious groups protections, if they object to same sex unions as a matter of their religious beliefs.

As it should be, since marriage in this country is a legal, not a religious, institution.
Arthur Handy
The 2011 version of Handy's marriage equality bill stated that every religious institution has "exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, and teachings regarding who may marry within their faith, and on what terms." In addition, it said that "no court or other state or local governmental body, entity, agency or commission shall compel, prevent, or interfere in any way with any religious institution's decisions about marriage eligibility within that particular faith's tradition." And it stated that "ordained clergy, ministers or elders [...] shall not be obligated or otherwise required by law to officiate at any particular civil marriage or religious rite of marriage."
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: if a religious institution objects to same-sex marriage because of some archaic belief, that's their right. But they don't have the right to prevent Americans, adult Americans, from legally marrying the person they love.
Hopefully, Arthur Handy and Rhode Island will follow the path blazed last month by Maryland, Maine and Washington.
And Illinois? You're next.


the dogs' mother said...

Amazingly The Engineer and The Dogs' Mother's marriage has not imploded since Marriage Equality took place in Washington. Looking forward to attending weddings of both friends and family down the road.

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

Rhode Island is a very Catholic state and former Catholic colony. It could benefit from the lessons learned in Maryland and Maine.

I think that Illinois will be the next to adopt equality in marriage as the sponsor is Republican, and when this type of thing crossed party lines, its a very good sign.

anne marie in philly said...

and since 3 states were added to the positive side, the US has not exploded and all str8 marriages are still intact.

let's add more states to the positive side this year! :)

Wonder Man said...

We hope

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

Anne Marie, I am STILL waiting for one of these babbling Fundy organizations that keep pushing the argument that gay marriage will weaken traditional marriage to proffer up a hopelessly heterosexual couple whose "traditional marriage" has been unduly undermined by same sex marriage.

truthspew said...

I'm a little doubtful that RI will get marriage equality this time around. The Senate is making little noises about not wanting it already.

The Catholic church, even though they went from a high of 62% of the population some time ago to under 40% now still likes to throw it's weight around, quite literally as their lobbyist Rev. Bernard Healey is quite the rotund fellow.