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Rhode Island House approves civil unions

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  1. Jock S. Trap 20 May 2011, 12:15pm

    Ok a positive step but why a watered down version?
    It’s more keeping at arms length to keep us quiet.
    In short they still don’t get it.

    1. Dan Filson 20 May 2011, 3:12pm

      Because they could not get gay marriage through.

    2. @Jock S Trap

      I suspect a watered down version because there needs to be more work to garner the requisite support from the conservative legislators. I would far rather have a positive step forward which can (hopefully at an early stage) be moved forward a gear than no progress at all, because those seeking change asked the legislators to do more than they were prepared to at that stage – that does not mean not aspiring to full equality, merely acknowledging that most steps towards equality that have ever successfully been acquired internationally have been on a step by step basis – and we need to be pragmatic and understand that.

  2. I agree Jock, I don’t understand why Rhode Island’s state government struggled to get an equal marriage bill passed. The Democrats have massive majorities in both houses of the state government, it’s two neighbours (Massachusetts and Connecticut) have both had equal marriage for years without any ill effects as have two other new england states and the governor said that he would sign an equal marriage bill into law if he was presented with one. What’s up with Rhode Island?

    1. Dan Filson 20 May 2011, 3:13pm

      Voting was not on strict party lines. So it became an issue of what was possible.

      1. marjangles 20 May 2011, 4:59pm

        I know it’s not on strict party lines but when I say that the Democrats have massive majorities I mean overwhelming, outstandingly huge majorities. I cannot believe that they can’t find enough Democrats to support marriage equality in the state of Rhode Island, I really can’t.

  3. It also looks certain the same-sex marriage bill in New York state is headed for failure. Apparently, the votes just aren’t there. Three or four democrats are waivering, one is definitely opposed and NO republicans (conservatives) said they’d support it. Yet another victory for hate groups such as that awful National Organisation for Marriage and other hate groups of their ilk. What a f__ked up system where the waiverers have to consult with their constituents on the issue (all conservatives districts I might add). Their response of course will be a resounding NO. Thank goodness we don’t have that awful mob rule system in the UK.

    Marjangles, the reason is of course, religion-based bigotry, no question about it. Rhode Island apparently is the most heavily catholic state in the country. The roman cult wields unlimited power there.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I’m not the biggest fan of the Tories but even I can admit they’re not as bad as this!& Apart from a few extreme nut job religious factions, there isn’t much of an extreme religious right-wing.

    2. Dan Filson 20 May 2011, 3:15pm

      Nothing wrong with a legislator consulting with their constituents so long as they retain as a brain (the legislator, that is) and retain their own judgement as to what is right.

      1. In fact I would encourage the legislator to consult their electorate but bear in mind what is moral, reasonable and appropriate

  4. Dan Filson 20 May 2011, 3:17pm

    The interesting thing will be whether civil unions legalised in Rhode Island and various other states are recognised in all the states of the Union. This is required by the Constitution. But chances are they won;t be so hopefully this will go to the Supreme Court along with the challenge to the lawfulness of the Defence of Marriage Act

  5. Dan, NO, civil unions in America are not recognised in all states. Most states don’t have anything resembling legal unions for gays, 31 of them I believe out of 50.

    The republicans in New York state which has domestic partnerships for both gay and straight couples alike, intend to introduce a bill to ban recognition of same-sex civil marriage performed elsewhere. The current law there recognises them as marriages. Gay couples in New York currently have to travel to Connecticut, the nearest state that offers same-sex marriage.

    Legislators whose constituents are conservative and usually religious are going to honour the wishes of their constituents whether the legislator supports marriage equality or not in whatever state they may be. If they don’t, they face losing their seat in the primary elections held I think every two years.

  6. Dan, the Supreme Court of the United States is stacked 6-3 by very conservative, right wing republicans for life. The Defence of Marriage Act or DOMA is legal in 31 states. No republican judge on the Supreme Court is going to overturn it. There would have to be at least 25 states allowing same-sex marriage before it ever reached the court even with concensus of a population supporting repeal. In America, many states allow referenda to give or take away rights from gay people. California and Maine are just two where referenda reversed marriage equality. The republican party and its right wing followers are now going after what they call “activist” judges in the state of Iowa to make sure they are either prosecuted or kicked out of their jobs for legalising same-sex marriage against the wishes of the people in that state. It boils down to mob rule, tyranny of the majority over the minority, a violation of the 14th amendment of the consitution apparently.

  7. …”constitution” I meant to have said.

  8. Gay Activist Mike 20 May 2011, 6:10pm

    It is better than nothing and is a start in the right direction – I welcome it! I prefer civil marriage, but you have to have civil unions first – A good example is that you must have petrol or gas in the car before you can drive, otherwise you will be standed in the middle of woop-woop! Look at Hawaii, Dalaware, Illiniois this year alone on civil union legislation passing there Legislators!
    Colorado did introduce a bill on civil unions but since the GOP or Republican tea-baggers control the House by just one member, the bill failed by just one vote. Look at New Hampshire they introduced civil unions in 2008 and then 2 years later in 2010 they replaced them with civil marriage!
    I can clearly see this exact thing that will happen in Rhode Island as well in 2 years time! Maryland and New York will not legalise same sex marriage because of a lack of support in their Senates controlled by right-wing GOP Tea-bagging Republican (just look at what happened in California and Maine)!

  9. Now the question is that will the civil union bill pass the Rhode Island Senate?????

  10. Gay Activist Mike…from what I’ve read online, it will only pass provided the democrats have a large majority in both houses of the state legislature. 32 votes are needed to pass it. Currently, there are only 28 democrats who will vote YES, 4 of them voting NO and NO republicans voting for it just as they did last time. Polls mean nothing. Look at our own country. 69% of the British public support it but the government, no matter which party is in power, has done anything to make it happen as of yet. It doesn’t necessarily follow that public opinion will triumph over what our elected officials will do. Just as in America, religion based bigotry often plays a part in defeating a bill such as this, especially with those 28 or so C of E cult clerics in the House of Lords.

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