Petty tacky move by RI Senate Prez Paiva-Weed

Timothy Kincaid

July 3rd, 2013

From WPRI comes an odd little story that illustrates the tacky pettiness of Rhode Island Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed.

For many years Paiva-Weed stood in the way of the Ocean State’s Senate voting on marriage equality. But earlier this year, after the Senate’s five Republicans joined with a large majority of Democrats, Pavia-Weed could stand in the way no longer and Rhode Island joined all of its New England neighbors in marriage equality.

But that certainly didn’t stop her from being petty.

Rhode Island has an odd little procedure that they use throughout the year. Individuals who are otherwise not authorized to conduct marriages get special permission to be one-time officiants. It’s a formal process, but it’s generally a non-controversial and all-in-one-fell-swoop kind of procedure, called “Consent Calendar”.

For example, it might say something like this:

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, Jessica Attorney, Esq., of Barrington, Rhode Island, may join Joe Fellow and Sally Sweet in marriage within the City of Providence, Rhode Island, on or about November 30, 2013. Jessica Attorney, Esq., is hereby authorized and empowered to join the foregoing persons in marriage pursuant to and in accordance with chapter 15-3 of the general laws, entitled “Solemnization of Marriages.”

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

But something out of the ordinary took place this time.

On Wednesday night, Senate leaders used the consent calendar to quarantine the solemnization-of-marriage bills for same-sex couples from those for straight ones.

Consent Calendar #2 contained 11 bills, all of which appeared to authorize marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Consent Calendar #3, by contrast, contained 23 bills – 15 of them allowing marriage ceremonies for straight couples, plus eight bills on other topics passed earlier by the House.

The Senate voted 30-0 shortly after 8 p.m. to pass Consent Calendar #3, but then Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, moved on without taking up Consent Calendar #2, leaving the various same-sex couples’ solemnization-of-marriage bills in limbo.

I can understand those who ideologically oppose equality out of some misguided fear about how same-sex marriage might impact society. But to deny specific same-sex couples the officiant of their choice is just contemptible.

David in the O.C.

July 3rd, 2013

It’s been a long day, and I’m kind of in a snarky mood, so here goes…

Considering that Ms. Horseface is probably married to the barnyard animal of her choice, I’m not sure why she’s having an issue with same-sex couples getting married.

Yeah, I do think she’s abusing her position, and should be sanctioned for it. You don’t treat other human beings this way. (Unless you want to call them ‘horseface’, of course. Then all bets are off.)


July 3rd, 2013

In California that takes place at the county level where it belongs. The couple to be married fills out an application for the person of their choice to officiate, they submit it to the marriage license bureau, they pay a fee (there’s always that), it’s routinely approved for a specific date, time, and, of course couple. That’s it.

Lindoro Almaviva

July 3rd, 2013

and if it was MY marriage, that poor excuse for the word human would find herself on the receiving end of a lawsuit for discrimination. This is inexcusable and discriminatory.


July 3rd, 2013

All it will take is one law suite and this situation will be taken care of….the RI voters can take care of the second part in the next election.


July 3rd, 2013

I find it truly odd, although perhaps an aspect of being a smaller state, that the Legislature makes this decision. As TomTallis noted, in California, it’s done at the county level.

It’s time for the Democrats in the State Senate to remove her as President. Contempible really is the word.


July 3rd, 2013

Here’s my advice to those 11 same-sex couples: find someone who is authorized by statute to make the actual proclamation of your wedding: “By the power vested in me by the State of Rhode Island . . .” and to sign the marriage license. Have your chosen solemnizer preside over the rest of the ceremony. If I lived there, I’d volunteer to do this for any same-sex couple whose request is treated this way by the legislature — I’m a United Church of Christ minister and I am so authorized by law.

I might even add, “I now pronounce you partners for life, and irritants to the Senate President.” But only with your permission!


July 4th, 2013

The authorizations ultimately were approved, just before the Senate adjourned–but that didn’t make the segregation any less tacky.

Two senators (the majority leader and the fanatically anti-gay Harold Metts) voted against the motion.

Bose in St. Peter MN

July 4th, 2013

Good to know that some elected officials have no problem getting down in the dirt to make their attempted condemnation of gays personal. I’m curious whether Ruggerio & Metts are on record voting against officiants chosen by other couples they disagree with, like maybe Muslims or Scientologists.


July 4th, 2013

I find the whole idea odd. In Colorado (and one or two other states), marriages can be self-executed, like any other contract. I officiated my sisters wedding, but signed the license as a witness (and even witness are optional, I believe.)


July 4th, 2013

Some of you might remember the former governor of Rhode Island Donald Carcieri whom among other things vetoed a bill allowing gay couples to claim their loved ones bodies.
His bigotry and partnership with NOM helped hide the fact he wasn’t the biggest obstacle to marriage equality in RI.
That would go to Paiva Weed who was able to use him as a cover until he left office and still blocked marriage equality (don’t let the throw us a bone civil unions vote fool you) until she was forced to.
This is her final act of defience towards us.
There has been talk she might want to run for Congress or the Senate someday.
Keep her bigoted history in mind and don’t fall for the D next to her name.

Richard Rush

July 4th, 2013

I wouldn’t feel safe near that woman unless she were wearing a muzzle.


July 4th, 2013

In FL and some other states, any notary public can sign off on the license. It is, after all, at it’s most basic level a contract, and the notary only verifies the identity of those signing it and their eligibility to execute a legal contract. Essentially the signatories execute the contract themselves.


July 5th, 2013

All this time we have been using the civil and human rights argument to advocate for marriage equality, I have wondered what might have happened if we had approached it from a civil contract perspective. Two persons of the same gender can execute any other civil contract. Why is this civil contract singled out for a restriction on gender?

I do not dispute that marriage is a particular kind of contract as defined by law. Just wondering how, under contract law concepts, it is singled out.

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