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.

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Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Not if, when the bill makes it to the floor.
I think it is reasonable to change it to civil union, as long as it is for both straight and gay couples. That is essentially what it is, a civil union. The state preforms civil unions, the church preforms marriages. But it will never happen. The NOM people want their cake and eat it too, now they will have to eat it with the homos at their sides, more likely dressed better with better catering.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“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.”
I’ll do it for $1,000.00. Lazy state legislators…
As for taking government out of marriage, I’m all for it.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

I too think this measure is what should have been the law in the first place.
‘Marriage’ is a social and religious institution, ‘civil unions’ are the legal mechanisms under which they operate. May as well change the law to relegate each to the domain in which it belongs.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

‘Marriage’ is a social and religious institution, ‘civil unions’ are the legal mechanisms under which they operate.

What utter nonsense. Marriage has always meant a civil contract in this country, at least when we’re talking about legilation. Don’t let the religious zealots tell you otherwise as a smokescreen for denying the rights of same sex couples. As I posted the other day, this was the case even in the days of the early republic.

In the eye of the common law, marriage appears in no other light than that of a civil contract: and to this contract the agreement of the parties, the essence of every rational contract, is indispensably required…
It will be proper, in the next place, to consider the consequences of marriage.
The most important consequence of marriage is, that the husband and the wife become, in law, only one person: the legal existence of the wife is consolidated into that of the husband. Upon this principle of union, almost all the other legal consequences of marriage depend.
— James Wilson, 1792

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

So Russ, now that they’re offering to give all people the same as what a man and a woman would get, and that’s not good enough? I thought that’s what this was all about, equality.
If it’s not about everyone getting equal rights, what is it about? Semantics?

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

No, not semantics. There’s simply no need to redefine marriage as the religious right would like us to do. It’s a terrible idea being floated to appease the misinformed.

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.

Yeah, no kidding.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

It would seem that this issue has gone from GLBT’s need to have their unions recognized by the government as equal to a marriage to revenge on the so called ‘religious zealots’ for wanting to preserve the sanctity of marriage as religious institution.
So they want their cake and the religious right’s cake too.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

Russ, I don’t understand how you just quoted me, disagreed, and then restated my argument.
I don’t think the government should use the word ‘marriage’ at all, the word itself is a rallying point for many of the arguments against homosexual union. If you turn down the temperature a bit and switch all the laws over to ‘civil unions’, for gay and straight people, you can peel-away the folks who say ‘marriage is between a man and a woman, because it’s marriage’, which doesn’t make sense, but is oft-repeated and popular.
Basically, ‘marriage’ means ‘hooking up’ two or more people as one financial unit. It’s understood that this is done for a variety of reasons, not the least of which involve tradition, providing a platform for child-raising, long-term fiscal stability, and to demonstrate mutual commitment. If the word is so contentious, why not change the word?

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

“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. ”
Obviously, it could be done with “search and replace”, although it is being presented as an economic question. More to the point it is simply proffered as a reason to support his opposition. That oppositionprobably has some other basis. So why is it being taken seriously and discussed?
He is opposed to it, he has that right. So, that is that.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Warrington, because that “he” could be someone with a great deal of power like Fox or Mattiello. Regardless of how silly any of their arguments are, they need to be taken seriously.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Russ, I don’t understand how you just quoted me, disagreed, and then restated my argument.”
I’m note quite following that one. I’m saying legal marriage is a form of civil contract and is the only relevant issue for the GA assembly. The rest (changing the legal word to “civil union” or whatever) is just more false framing intended to rally the uninformed around some kind of “defense” of an institution not under attack.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

The GA has been gutless year after year on this-they’ve “studied”this more than Einstein studied the atom.
I don’t give a damn what they do,but it’s their obligation to not sit back and waffle for years while people on both sides of the issue trek to the statehouse and wait for hours on end and give emotional testimony.the GA is practically mocking these folks-both pro and anti same sex marriage advocates.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

When is some Rep. going to yell “Fiscal Note!”.
How much will it cost the next generations (and ours) to give perverted sex partners of state and municipal workers free health care for life plus survivorship pensions???

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Joe writes: “but it’s their obligation to not sit back and waffle for years while people on both sides of the issue trek to the statehouse and wait for hours on end and give emotional testimony.” Sometimes, delay is your friend. I stand to be corrected, but so far as I known there is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is other than a choice. (I am not swayed by findings that left handedness is more common among lesbians than the general pop). So, if it is a choice, I do not see where any “natural right” arises. Some might say that “religion” is a “Choice” and that people are protected from discrimination for that choice. I think that may be because religious people are participating in a societal norm. Most people approve of religions that do not require the handling of snakes. Then, there is that troublesome “freedom of religion” clause. I can see the Moslem faith requiring a re-examination of the principle. Although “marriage” may not be clearly defined as a man and a woman, I think that at the time the meaning was so clear that no specific definition would have been thought to be necessary. For the same reason, I doubt that “rain” is legally defined. I think that one of the overriding reasons for marriage was to establish the paternity of children. Remember when people “had to get married”? Although “Boston Marriages” have been known and tolerated over time, I think that actual homosexual marriage is clearly a new concept. I do not think it naturally succeeds to the concept of traditional marriage. The “new” automobile did not succeed to the rights of a horse and was prevented from disturbning them. The “newer” power boats are required to defer to rights of way for a sail… Read more »

Triplerichard
Triplerichard
10 years ago

Tommy thank for your kind and enlightened thoughts on this issue. Are all perverts gay and are all gays perverts.?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Warrington-my point was about the GA being loathe to stand up and be counted on this and other issues.
Any subject of repeated bills should get an up or down vote.These GA people are there to do more than receive health care benefits.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Tommy thank for your kind and enlightened thoughts on this issue. Are all perverts gay and are all gays perverts.?
Posted by Triplerichard at February 11, 2011 5:56 AM
Most of us in the real world DO regard all sodomites as sex offenders. Look how they are handled throughout the world: Iran, Nigeria, Uganda, Jamaica, etc., etc., etc. Even the 4 remaining Atheist Left Progressive countries (Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and China) treat them as pariahs and often criminals. As did the now fallen Soviet bloc.
Sodomy was a crime under common law and remains one under common sense, the pathetic bleatings of the dying, depraved West’s self-hating “progressive’s” to the contrary.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Fiscal Note! That is a funny one. First, it never works, and second, the way the out of state wackos that came in saying basically tons and tons of religious institutions were going to loose tax exempt status because of this law you could begin to think we could actually balance our budget with all the money we would get when we start taxing them!
Here is what will actually happen. Fox will make it look difficult, he already said he wont vote until after Feb break. He has to make it look like they actually review the testimony. It will then pass the House, possibly with some stronger wording for religious inst. when it comes out of committee, so they can say they worked on it. Fox and Chaffee will put pressure on Piava-Weed to have it pass Senate, probably giving her some tit for tat, this is politics, and it will all be over before the big June push, probably even before the budget. Senate is just waiting to see what comes out of the house so they can have the same bill.
Piava-Weed should be happy, gays will flock to Newport for some beautiful summer weddings!

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Joe, I don’t disagree with your point “about the GA being loathe to stand up and be counted on this and other issues”.
It just seems that sometimes inaction may favor the populace.
My own belief is that homosexuality is a choice, whether conciously arrived at, or not. Sort of like choosing to believe in global warming. I do not see why this requires special consideration for the believers.
Some things that have to be believed defy one’s experience in life. I recall my daughter telling me that one of her male friends “realized he was gay at age 8”. I suppose there are exceptions to everything, but I cannot believe that an 8 year old could form such a thought, or understand the meaning of it. I wonder if he simply had some sort of homosexual experience, and has since seized on the memory as proof he “was born that way”? If an 8 year old stole a candy bar, would that prove he was born to be a thief?

bella
bella
10 years ago

Swaz, I wish I could share your optimism, but we’ve seen with the debunked “they teach in kindergarten” tale the lengths to which NOM will go to stop this. It’s the Lee Atwater “repeat the lie loud enough and often enough, and it becomes true theory.”
We went through pretty familiar ground on both sides. I think the most intelligent and original thought came after midnight from a lawyer supporting SSM who addressed the demand to put it on the ballot. Instead of the tired civil rights argument, he said something to the effect of “If this needs to go to the ballot, why do we even have elected democracy? Why not put every decision the General Assembly makes on a ballot?”

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“Sodomy was a crime under common law and remains one under common sense”
Well, I guess we’d better throw 44% of young straight women into prison, and most of the men. We don’t want to fall behind on restricting personal liberties in comparison to states like Iran, Nigeria, or Uganda, do we?
Just because you find a particular act to be disgusting doesn’t mean you should have any say on whether other people should be able to do it in the privacy of their own homes. I suspect that your views on homosexuals go much farther than ‘they shouldn’t be able to get married’, and probably include criminalization, or worse.
How closed-in is your life where you don’t know dozens of totally decent gay people? Most of my gay friends are far less ‘deviant’ than their straight counterparts. Maybe you should expand your horizons and pick up a shift working at a library or something so you can see how things really are.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Bella,
I am optimistic. I liked Laura Pisatauro’s testimony myself, who outright called the committee to have some bravery and send this to the floor.
As for the funniest testimony, I was expecting it to be from Chris Young or Kara Russo, but it came from that 17 year old when he said he had a uncle with who was living the homosexual lifestyle. He said his uncle became a homosexual because he was left handed and his grandfather showed more attention to his right handed sons because of sports.

bella
bella
10 years ago

I saw the kid you’re talking about, Swaz. Unlike the two kids who supported SSM and the girl with him who opposed it, he was rambling, unsure…I doubt he meant what he was saying. I got the impression his parents or other adults put him up to this. They humiliated him.
Someone needs to sit down with this kid in a compassionate way and tell him that gay marriage will NOT prevent him from attending college, joining the military, having a family of his own, or fulfilling any of his dreams. Hopefully, the Koresh/Maranatha/Guyana influence on him will melt and disappear from his life.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Hopefully, the Koresh/Maranatha/Guyana influence on him will melt and disappear from his life.
Posted by bella at February 11, 2011 3:02 PM
Do some research genius.
Jim Jones, of Guyana was a communist, atheist and sodomite whose cult left all their assets to their beloved Soviet Union.
He’d fit right in with Crowley, Segal, Jerzyk, Shaun Joseph and the rest of the crowd at Wild Colonial, Cuban Revolution and Local 121.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Haha-all nonunion workplaces Tommy-I love it-the phony c*cksuckers.

triplerichard
triplerichard
10 years ago

Tommy, keep up the good work. I have a new name for you Hateman! It is a borrowed one but it seems to fit you perfectly. Keep living in fear of a socialist, communist,Islamist, homo, libtard, progressive attempt to take over the world. Perhaps if things get really bad here, you can head to Uganda where they have laws that you agree with.

bella
bella
10 years ago

Poor Tommy can’t even unanimous homophobia at CPAC anymore. Central Africa’s looking better every day, eh? Not as much snow, either.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

I don’t understnad why it is “homophobic” (I prefer “homo averse”)
to oppose gay marriage. This is not the same as denying them jobs, putting them in prison, etc.
I think this has just become another “litmus test” to prove “progressive” leanings. Similar to abortion and global warming.
Interestingly, the most “liberal” person I know, a New York artist is extremely anti-gay. That because her husband left her for another man. She is also very anti-black, that because of her daughter’s experiences in New York schools. I suppose life experience has to be taken into account.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

It’s REALLY stupid to hate people at random because of a personal negative experience.
Projecting some individual’s misdeeds to a whole group is beyond my understanding.
Sometimes when people are acting in groups it’s easy to feel angry at that group,but it doesn’t have any validity.
I remember when trucker Reginald Denny was being beaten by three or four Black men who were total scumbags just because he was White,a Black man and his siater saw it on tv and went to his aid,probably saving his life.The reason was interesting-the guy watching TV was a trucker too and felt some kinship to him-so where is the basis to hate at random?
When I see hundreds of hezbollah crazies screaming about wiping out the Jews,I think a cluster bomb right there would be cool,but does that also mean I should hate my podiatrist who is Muslim?
I doubt she has a high opinion of Hezbollah.
I certainly can hate a group formed for a particular purpose which I consider dangerous or destructive,but that is based on what they want to do rather than who their ancestors were.

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