Gay Marriage Hits the State House
By now, I think we’re all familiar with the arguments. The ProJo covered the story and GoLocalProv’s Stephen Beale has a piece regarding a potential compromise being floated that would have all Rhode Island marriages be called civil unions. The details:
“There seems to be an issue with a word and I want to make sure there is equality,” said state Rep. Karen MacBeth, a self-described conservative Democrat from Cumberland. “If we’re hung up on a word, let’s use a different word.”
If the current bill to legalize gay marriage successfully makes it to the House floor, MacBeth is considering offering an amendment that would substitute the phrase “civil unions” for “marriage.” As a result, the state would stop offering marriage licenses and instead offer civil unions to both straight and gay couples.
One veteran state rep whom she declined to name has told MacBeth that it would be too much of an undertaking to strip the word “marriage” from all state laws. MacBeth, however, points to the recent debate over taking out the phrase “Providence Plantations” from the state name. “If we can take a vote on changing the name of the state, we can certainly vote on changing the word ‘marriage,’” she said.
While several legislators across the political/ideological spectrum seem in favor of enacting a civil union law of some sort–or at least putting it before the Rhode Island voters–it doesn’t look like the activists on either side of the issue are crazy about this “cut the baby in half” solution.