Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for May, 2012

Chafee’s executive order recognizes marriage

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2012

Governor Lincoln Chafee (I, nee R), has signed an executive order authorizing state agencies in Rhode Island to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states. Rhode Island currently recognizes civil unions for its own residents.

Chafee signs civil unions

Timothy Kincaid

July 3rd, 2011


Rhode Island’s governor on Saturday signed into law a controversial bill legalizing same sex civil unions, but said it does not go far enough toward legalizing gay marriage.

GovernorLincoln Chafee, an independent who supports gay marriage, nonetheless signed the measure with the promise that it would move Rhode Island closer to the ultimate goal of legalizing gay marriage.

I think Chafee did the right thing.

Yes there are overly broad religious exemptions (and Chafee noted them). Yes some people will use these exemptions to unfairly discriminate.

But some Rhode Island couples very much need the protections that are provided – and honored by honorable people. We cannot stop here. Now we move forward – with the Governor – to correct the broad language and to enact true marriage equality.

NOM’s rather deceptive anti-Chafee ad

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2011

The battle for marriage in Rhode Island has begun and the National Organization for Marriage has rolled out their first ad. Well, the rolled it out and then had to roll it back in because they misspelled Chafee’s name, but it’s back out there again with the correction.

The problem, of course, is that NOM is just about as honest as they ever are. Which is to say, not at all.

They tell us that Chafee only got 36% of the vote and imply that this means that only 36% of Rhode Islanders support marriage equality. But let’s look at the vote totals:

Lincoln D. CHAFEE (IND)…..123,571 36.1%
John F. ROBITAILLE (REP)..114,911 33.6%
Frank T. CAPRIO (DEM)……….78,896 23.0%
Kenneth J. BLOCK (MOD)…….22,146 6.5%
Three Others…………………………..2,799 0.8%

But what NOM doesn’t tell you is that Caprio and Block also ran on a pro-marriage-equality platform and one of t. In fact, two-thirds of Rhode Islanders voted for a candidate that pledged to support same-sex marriage.

They then do something that – if they had the ability to feel shame – would surely give them trouble sleeping. They compare Chafee’s percentage of an three-credible-person race to the results from an entirely different race. To understand how dishonest they are being, you have to have some background.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor (in which Chafee was not a candidate), the Republican nominee pulled out and threw her support to perennial candidate Robert J. Healey, JR., the founder of the Cool Moose Party (a riff on Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party). She said that Healey agreed with her views on smaller government; and indeed Healey ran on a platform of eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. While NOM pretends that the Cool Moose is oh-so-amusing, it was actually the not-a-Democrat choice.

In a two-credible-person race with the Democratic candidate Elizabeth Roberts (and one minor party candidate), Republican-endorsed Healey got 39.2% of the vote. And it is that 39% that NOM compares to Chafee’s 36%.

But NOM doesn’t tell you that Liz Roberts, who got 54.5% of the Lieutenant Governor’s vote has endorsed marriage equality and supports Chafee’s efforts.

And they don’t tell you that truthful people, honest people, don’t try to fool you by comparing apples to pineapples. And, if they do, you don’t get to distort the numbers by using big bold completely-bogus graphics.

Because not only can you not compare different races involving different numbers of contestants, but the number of voters who cast a ballot in the Governor’s race was not the same as the number that voted in the Lieutenant Governor’s race. 39% of the Governor’s race is not 39% of the Lieutenant Governor’s race.

In his two-person race, Healey the Cool Moose, got slightly more votes than did Chafee in his three-person race that night; 2,492 to be exact. But that isn’t 3% of the vote like NOM’s graphic pretends.

Now graphics representing the real numbers between the two would have not illustrated NOM’s point very well, so they just used whatever they wanted. In other words, NOM behaved in a completely dishonest manner.

Why are we not surprised?

So here is my challenge to Maggie Gallagher in 2011: Maggie, I’m not going to ask you to stop lying. I’m not going to request that you take up honesty as way of life. All I ask of you now is that you stop pretending that you are on the side of God and righteousness and morality; it offends my Christian faith.

Chafee’s inaugural hope

Timothy Kincaid

January 4th, 2011

In his inauguration speech today, onetime Republican Senator and newly elected Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee included the following comments:

And I would hope that Rhode Island will catch up to her New England neighbors and pass a bill to establish marriage equality. I urge our general Assembly to quickly consider and adopt this legislation. When marriage equality is the law in Rhode Island, we honor our forefathers who risked their lives and fortune in the pursuit of human equality.