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.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.