Conservative lawmakers in 16 mostly red states across America are considering new legislation that would bar teachers from “introducing concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity to young students”, imitating a new Florida law that opponents have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” Law.
“Battles over sex education in schools have been a constant front in the culture wars that have raged between liberals and conservatives for decades” aid Aaron Ridings, chief of staff and deputy executive director for public policy and research at GLSEN. ““There’s a chilling effect from all of these bills on people who are LGBT”
Openly gay Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox who was criticized by LGBT activists for pushing for civil unions rather than marriage in 2011 has resigned his leadership position and will not seek reelection after the FBI in conjuncture with the R.I State Police and and the IRS conducted a raid on his home and office taking boxes of evidence with them.
“Because of the respect I have for all members of the House of Representatives, I am resigning as Speaker,” Fox said in a written statement emailed to reporters. “The process of governing must continue and the transition of leadership must be conducted in an orderly manner.” The 52-year-old Providence Democrat, who became the nation’s first openly gay House speaker in 2010, said he planned to serve out the remainder of his term through the end of the year, but that “my personal focus going forward will be on my family and dealing with the investigation.”
Col. Steven G. O’Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police stated that police investigations often result in joint operations and federal charges, especially “if it’s any type of corruption case or political person.” In such cases, he said federal prosecution is often preferable because “the guidelines are better for the punishment.”
He declined to disclose why the authorities are investigating Fox, and whether Fox is the target of the investigation or merely someone with evidence of crimes committed by others. But he said the former speaker is not in the dark.
“Fox knows what’s going on,” O’Donnell said. “He’s certainly aware of what happened” Friday and why it happened.
Ronald L’Heureux, a co-founder of the Faith Alliance to Preserve the Sanctity of Marriage as Defined by God, (now that’s a mouthful) in a last ditch effort, brought a petition and complaint to the court on Tuesday morning and sought a temporary restraining order to stop the law from allowing same sex marriages to take place today from taking effect. Judge Daniel A. Procaccini denied the request, saying L’Heureux had fallen “far short” of the criteria needed to obtain a temporary restraining order, said court spokesman Craig Berke.
Procaccini scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 9.
L’Heureux’s complaint, which names Governor Chafee, state Department of Health Director Michael Fine and 75 state lawmakers who voted for same-sex marriage as defendants, argues that legalizing same-sex marriage will violate religious freedoms guaranteed by the state Constitution, forcing people to accept, in public spheres such as schools, a practice that they oppose based on their faith.
“It violates the Constitution and causes irreparable harm, and once it passes they’re going to teach my children and grandchildren conduct that’s reprehensible to my faith,” said L’Heureux, who represented himself in court.
Ray Sullivan, campaign director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, which led the effort to pass same-sex marriage, said the lawsuit “was expected, and the judge’s decision came as little surprise.”
Really though. “Faith Alliance to Preserve the Sanctity of Marriage as Defined by God”
How about renaming it “Faith Alliance of God to Preserve Marriage Sanctity “
Gays, lesbians, friends, families and allies erupted into cheers Thursday following a final 56-15 vote in the Rhode Island House, and then again an hour later when Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law on the Statehouse steps as Rhode Island officially became the 10th State to allow gay marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage and the Catholic Church was the most significant opponent, even though the legislation states that religious institutions may set their own rules regarding who is eligible to marry within the faith and specifies that no religious leader is obligated to officiate at any marriage ceremony and no religious group is required to provide facilities or services related to a gay marriage Bishop Thomas Tobin urged lawmakers to defeat what he called an “immoral and unnecessary” change to traditional marriage law.
On Thursday, Tobin repeated his opposition, writing in a letter to Rhode Island’s Catholics that “homosexual acts are… always sinful.”
“Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies. To do so might harm their relationship with God.”
The first same-sex marriages will take place on Aug. 1
As reported yesterday, Rhode Island has been progressing their marriage equality bill through the Rhode Island House and then Senate Judiciary Committee. Today the full senate voted in favor of the marriage equality bill with in favor and against. Now the bill needs to once again visit the House because of an amendment to the bill. Here;s more:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island is on a path to becoming the 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry after a landmark vote in the state’s Senate on Wednesday.
The Senate passed gay marriage legislation by a comfortable 26-12 margin, following a House vote of approval in January. The bill must now return to the House for a largely procedural vote, likely next week, but the celebration began Wednesday.
Hundreds of people filled the Statehouse with cheers following the vote.
Supporters mounted a renewed push this year, and the Senate vote was seen as the critical test after the House easily passed the bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, called Wednesday’s vote historic.
“I’m very much looking forward to signing this,” he told The Associated Press as he congratulated supporters.
It’s also important to note that Governor Chafee has stated he will be signing the bill if it does pass and all indications are showing that this will be the case, Congratulations to Rhode Island We can only hope that the other 40 states that do not allow same sex marriage will do so as quickly.
The fight for marriage equality has heated up as not only one but two states advanced measures that would allow same sex marriage. First came the news that Rhode Island’s marriage equality bill had advanced past the Senate Judiciary committee:
Late this afternoon the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 to recommend S38, the marriage equality bill, to the full Senate. This move sets up Rhode Island to join the five other New England states in allowing for same-sex marriages. positions Rhode Island, the final holdout in New England, to pass marriage equality. This.
The vote on the full floor of the Senate will be tomorrow (Wednesday).
Then later on today came the news that Delaware is a step ahead of Rhode Island and had also made advances in a similar bill that would allow same sex couples the right to marry:
DOVER, Del. (AP) — The state House on Tuesday narrowly approved a bill legalizing gay marriage in Delaware, barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions.
The measure cleared the House on a 23-to-18 vote and now goes to the Senate, where supporters and opponents expect another close vote.
Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the Democrat-led legislature.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Markell, who met with supporters of the bill in his Legislative Hall office immediately after Tuesday’s vote, which saw five Democrats break ranks with their party and oppose the measure.
What does this mean? Well for one it is a great day to see that all the hard work of LGBT activists and advocates of equal rights is gaining momentum. And it shows that politicians and legislation is finally beginning to reflect the majority of the citizens of this country that support equal rights. In what could now be three states (Delaware, Rhode Island, and Illinois) that are all making advances in marriage equality legislation then we’d be up to 12 states (and the District of Columbia) that have marriage equality. My hope is that this will be taken into account during the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions from the Supreme Court in the next few months.
As reported Rhode Island is one step closer to making marriage equality a reality. Once on the heels of similar measures introduced by the state of Illinois has now surpassed and since there seems to be less resistance in the state, makes the possibility of this taking full affect even more promising Here’s more from Think Progress:
As expected, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted today to approve marriage equality legislation with a vote of 51-19. The bill now advances to the Senate, where the Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D) previously blocked a vote. This year, though, Paiva Weed has promised to allow a vote after approval in the House, but it’s unclear when that will occur. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) has promised to sign the bill and block any attempts to refer the question to a referendum.
An October poll showed that 56 percent of Rhode Island voters support marriage equality. Same-sex marriages from other states are already recognized by state agencies. After over a year of offering civil unions, less than 100 couples bothered to obtain one. All other states in New England — Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut — already recognize and offer same-sex marriages.
Now if Rhode Island passes the measure that would mean that 10 states have marriage equality laws. That 1/5 of the country that believes we should be able to marry whomever we wish And with the Supreme Court hearing the DOMA and Prop * cases later this year, any news of another state enacting marriage equality can only be a good thing for us. Keep your fingers crossed!
Jeremy Hooper of Good As You and NOM Exposed has discovered that NOM had posted a clip by NOM on their anti-gay marriage Rhode Island site where Liberty Counsel spokesdouche Matt Barber goes on a most evil and hateful rant that homosexuality is about “child indoctrination” is a “sin that is self-destructive” and “the wages of sins is death.”
Writes Jeremy about the clip:
I actually think I might be underselling the two videos. I’m not kidding you—it doesn’t get much worse than these two clips! They are not just anti–marriage equality—these are proudly anti-LGBT videos that denigrate us in every single way imaginable. These videos are from the most extreme fringe of this debate. They would make even some outspoken conservatives blush. The videos I just described to you are now forever to the National Organization For Marriage’s Rhode Island strategy. The organization is pushing them on its official website as a “preview of what the same-sex marriage movement is about” and telling supporters to share them widely.
After being discovered NOM quickly scrubbed and removed the video from the site .
But not before screenshots could be taken of the page.
Just minutes ago despite the droning, whining and gnashing of teeth by anti-gay religious groups Illinois Senate committee passed the states pending Same Sex Marriage Bil out of its committee by an 8-5 vote and now will go on to be voted upon by the by the full Illinois Chamber.
Also marriage equality bills were introduced today in both the Rhode Island House and Senate. The identical bills were sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy, D-Cranston, (House bill 5015) and Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket. Handy said 42 of 75 House members had signed on as cosponsors, while Nesselbush said 11 of 38 Senate members had signed on as of 4:50 p.m. The bills would define marriage as the “legally recognized union” of two people
Rhode Island appears to be the next state working towards marriage equality. Following in the same legislative steps of the state of Illinois are currently trying to employ, the measure will make it known that no churches or other religious establishments will have to perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples. Here’s more from The Advocate:
A marriage equality bill will be introduced in the Rhode Island legislature Thursday, theProvidence Journal reports.
State representative Arthur Handy, the bill’s sponsor, said he will need Wednesday to recruit cosponsors, who will include openly gay House speaker Gordon Fox.
Rhode Island legislators have previously abandoned efforts to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples because of insufficient support. The state has had civil unions since 2011, and it recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages. But it remains the only New England state without marriage equality.
While Rhode Island legislators may be in the beginning processes of making marriage equality law, they do have the advantage of 2012 elections momentum that saw three states approve of same sex marriage. The state currently allows only civil unions.