Tag Archives: marriage equality

Marriage Equality

I’ve posted about it before, but the issue is actually being debated in Rhode Island’s General Assembly as I write this. Yesterday after work, I attended a marriage equality rally held by some of the students at the college. They had various speakers that included a gay Catholic priest (not Roman Catholic), some students, and some faculty. I didn’t get to stay to the end as I had to get home to make dinner for my wife, but it was a great rally. Continue reading Marriage Equality

Why hasn’t RI legalized gay marriage?

Massachusetts was the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage through a lawsuit in which the judges ruled that it was unconstitutional for gays not to marry. Connecticut, a very Puritanical state, was the second state in New England to legalize gay marriage through a similar lawsuit. Vermont just recently became the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage through the legislature, meaning the people cannot complain that unelected officials made the decision. New Hampshire is about to legalize gay marriage through the same means. That leaves only two states in New England, one of the most progressive regions of the country, where same sex couples cannot be legally married – Maine and the more progressive Rhode Island.

Come to find out, after reading an article on New Hampshire’s recent decisions, Maine’s legislature is considering a bill that would legalize gay marriage. That leaves Rhode Island, the smallest state in the country, the bluest state in the country, the most urban state in the country, as the only state in New England not currently considering allowing gay marriage.

How can this be? In a state where the general assembly and the governor never see eye-to-eye, why is it that the general assembly doesn’t just write up a bill legalizing gay marriage and pass it? It would be passed with a veto-proof margin, similar to the medical marijuana bill. The governor will veto it, and the next day, the general assembly will override the veto.

Could it be because the general assembly is too busy working on pet projects? Could it be because Rhode Island is also the most Catholic state in the country? Could it be because the bishop of Providence makes all the social decision for the governor?

Whatever the case may be, if Maine legalizes gay marriage before Rhode Island, you can rest assured the Rhode Island is also the most backwards state in the country. This one is a no brainer. They tried to teach me in my pre-Cana class that gay marriage is bad for marriage. The bishop regularly makes statements against it. The governor has come out against it. However, the people just wouldn’t care. The people of Rhode Island are just as backwards as the government. They complain at every little thing. They complain about things that deserve praise, such as when an investigative journalist digs up a story on wasteful and deceitful practices in the Providence Parks Department. But that shouldn’t matter. The general assembly doesn’t listen to the people anyway.

So I ask all of you Rhode Island legislators… Why are you dragging your feet on this issue? It’s a no-brainer. Legalize gay marriage and be done with it!

All you people out there, support Marriage Equality RI. Help get gay marriage legalized in Rhode Island. Help make New England, all of New England, the most gay-friendly region of the country.

Same Sex Marriage

I may lose some readers (not that I have many) and I may gain some readers because of what I’m about to write.  But I really don’t care.  I support same sex marriage.  Sure, I have a gay brother, but that has absolutely no effect on my views.  The underlying issue is equality under the Constitution.  This country believes in equal rights for all citizens.  The Constitution doesn’t care about skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.  While it doesn’t say anything about marriage, I firmly believe that banning same sex marriage, regardless of whether or not it is a state or federal issue is unconstitutional according to the federal Constitution.

A few states offer civil unions for same sex couples.  These are not the same as marriage and do not give same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.  Massachusetts was the first state to allow same sex marriage.  It took a lawsuit that ended with judges, not activists, declaring that the state constitution does not explicitly deny same sex couples the right to marry in Massachusetts.  California was the next state to have something similar happen, and most recently, Connecticut did the same.

This is not a religious issue.  The United States offers freedom of religion.  It means you can practice any religion you like and that the government will not force certain religious views on you.  Marriage as we know it in our culture is primarily of a Judeo-Christian tradition.  Man meets woman.  They fall in love.  They get married.  They have children.  It’s simple.  However, that comes from a religious viewpoint.  Our country offers a separation of Church and State.  Religious issues do not belong in the hands of the government.  The issue of whether or not same sex marriage is moral is a religious issue.  The issue of whether or not same sex marriage should be legal is an equal rights issue.

People opposed to same sex marriage offer a whole slew of reasons why it should be illegal.  Unfortunately, they are all based on religion.  I have heard things as silly as “it would force churches to perform marriage between two men”.  This is simply not true.  I was raised Catholic.  According to our current laws, a Jewish heterosexual couple can get married.  However, if they walk into a Catholic church, the church will not allow them to marry.  Religions have their own rules for what can and cannot go on.  We are not looking to force religions to change their views.  They can continue hating gays all they want and continue to perform only heterosexual marriages.  That is within their legal rights.  We are looking to force state marriage, performed by a representative of the state, not the Church.  There is a big difference there.  I was married in a Catholic church by a Catholic priest.  I had the option of getting married by a justice of the peace.  This would have given me the legal rights and benefits of being married, but not the religious rights and benefits (which are mostly intangible).  The rights that gays want are those legal rights from the state and federal government.

Currently, because this issue is left up to the states to decide (as I do feel marriage should be), same sex couples married in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or California are only given the rights in their respective state.  They do not get the same rights from the federal government that heterosexual couples receive.  In my opinion, this is unconstitutional.

I have heard some crazy reasons for being against same sex marriage.  The problem with all of these reasons is that they are either based on religion or based on some crazy idea that giving a subset of the population more rights will take away rights of other members of the same population.  The latter is simply not true.  You are still within your freedom of speech to say that same sex couples are immoral.  You are within your freedom of religion to not allow same sex marriages to take place in your church.  You are well within your rights to hold your own personal beliefs on what is and what is not marriage.  However, these beliefs should not be present in law in this country.  Offering equal rights to all citizens is part of the reason this country was created.  Denying rights to a subset of the population is simply unconstitutional.

If you live in California, vote no on Proposition 8.  If you live in any other state, vote against any efforts to define marriage as that between a man and a woman.  In a country that touts freedom as our biggest reason for being, it is sad to see that such a large population of people wish to remove freedoms from others.

For more pathetically ridiculous reason why same sex marriage should be banned, you need not look any further than the wonderful people of California (at least those in favor of Prop 8).

I leave you with this quote.  You’ve probably seen it before.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Reflect on that for a while before commenting.