Rhode Island Senate Committee vote tomorrow

Timothy Kincaid

June 28th, 2011

The Rhode Island Senate is, at last, acting on the Civil Unions bill. (Boston Globe)

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote Wednesday on the civil union bill. If the committee endorses the legislation, it will head to the full Senate for a final vote. Until Monday the bill appeared to be languishing on the Senate agenda as time ran out on the legislative session.

This is a crappy bill. Even if you set aside that this should be a marriage bill instead of a civil unions bill, it contains provisions that are considered disproportionately generous to religious objectors.

But that stuff is, for the most part, window dressing. It’s a battle over exactly which people are entitled to legally discriminate and – as in reality these provisions will impact very few real folk – they are distractions more than they are issues.

Do you really care if Pastor Steve down at the First Church of I’m Better Than You recognizes your civil union when pricing discounts for his church’s Anti-Halloween Festival? And if so, do you care so much that you’ll give up inheritance rights or other marital benefits?

I think that Rhode Island will, in short time, join the family of marriage equality states. But until that time, let’s pass this inferior civil unions bill and then move on to lobbying for full equality.

Bruno

June 28th, 2011

NY has shown that refusing to compromise for civil unions makes politicians realize they have nowhere to turn for cover. In a state like RI, which shows consistently high #’s in favor of marriage equality, the compromise step can only retard the process, in my opinion.

Mark F.

June 28th, 2011

So Bruno, you would vote against this?

Bruno

June 28th, 2011

@Mark F: I’d be against it coming up for a vote instead of marriage equality. I’m not a Rhode Island legislator, I don’t have a vote, so I don’t need to deal with that hypothetical.

David

June 28th, 2011

“First Church of I’m Better Than You”

hahaha

Julian Morrison

June 28th, 2011

These things are designed to diffuse and destroy momentum. Either you smile for a shit sandwich, or you go home hungry.

The solution is to realize that a shit sandwich is no kind of food, and flatly turn them down. Yes, it is better to go hungry, because it keeps you angry.

TampaZeke

June 28th, 2011

I don’t think this compromise is a good thing.

Rhode Island must be so proud to be surounded by 21st Century states.

TampaZeke

June 28th, 2011

*surrounded*

TonyJazz

June 28th, 2011

It is obvious that gay representatives should vote and speak against civil unions. The whole concept is an embarrassment to the state of Rhode Island.

Yay, New York!!!!!

Reed Boyer

June 29th, 2011

Take the bill as is – then press discrimination lawsuits as instances happen (and they will) while simultaneously working legislators to “refine” the bill to be more in keeping with the realities in areas where CHW hospitals are the only ones, etc.

Mark F.

June 29th, 2011

Well, if a “civil union” is a marriage in all but name, I don’t get the strong objections. If the votes aren’t there for marriage, I think you should take this for the time being.

Theo

June 29th, 2011

I don’t agree that the exemption is no big deal. The RI exemption, unlike those in every other state, is not limited to religious groups asked to become involved in weddings or wedding celebrations. The RI exemption covers religious groups as they may interact with gay married couples over the course of their lives. That means adoption, hospitals, shelters, etc.

Now if this were a full marriage bill and if it were Idaho and the exemption was the only way to get it done, I’d be OK with it. But for this to be in a bill in RI, where the Dems control both houses by overwhelming majorities, where there is no referendum process, where they are only considering civil unions, it is appalling to have that in the bill.

This was a complete sell out by the openly gay House Speaker and, if press stories are true, by HRC which staged a take over of the local RI group and agreed to this civil unions scheme.

Also, please don’t become one of these people who say “folk” all the time. It isn’t 1860.

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