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The difference between life and death in the Rhode Island civil union bill


By Adam Bink

The Rhode Island legislature just passed legislation legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples.

This was a difficult road. The choice was made to push a civil unions bill through in Rhode Island rather than marriage — a choice that may, to Rhode Islanders, be the best choice based on what they want and need at the moment.

What becomes a problem is language like this in the bill:

15-3.1-5. Conscience and religious organizations protected. – (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no religious or denominational organization, no organization operated for charitable or educational purpose which is supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, and no individual employed by any of the foregoing organizations, while acting in the scope of that employment, shall be required:

(1) To provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, certification, or celebration of any civil union; or

(2) To solemnize or certify any civil union; or

(3) To treat as valid any civil union; if such providing, solemnizing, certifying, or treating as valid would cause such organizations or individuals to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.

(b) No organization or individual as described in subsection (a) above who fails or refuses to provide, solemnize, certify, or treat as valid, as described in subdivision (a)(1), (a)(2) or (a)(3) above, persons in a civil union, shall be subject to a fine, penalty, or other cause of action for such failure or refusal.

Perhaps some legislators looked at the careful negotiation and insertion of religious exemption language in New York State and demanded the same deal. The difference is that pastors deciding who to marry, and synagogues deciding whether to rent out their reception hall for a wedding, is not the same as this.

I’ll give you an example: if I were back home in suburban Buffalo and my partner had a medical emergency and I had to get him to a hospital, Kenmore Mercy hospital would be the closest at just over 3 miles away. I could drive there in my sleep. Unfortunately for me, Kenmore Mercy is a Catholic hospital. If he were treated at Kenmore Mercy, then despite all my civil union paperwork, despite my partner’s wishes for me to make important medical decisions on his behalf, or be at the doctors’ side to tell them important information like what he’s allergic to or that he only has one functional kidney, they can treat me as a complete stranger and it’s legal. They could do to me the same as what happened to Daniel Weiss in New Jersey, one of the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit being filed:

Daniel Weiss, for instance, had to show doctors his civil union ring to show that he could make medical decisions for his long-time partner, John Grant, after Grant was struck by a car and his skull shattered in Manhattan. Despite explaining it to attending doctors, the hospital called Grant’s sister up from Delaware – four hours away – to make medical decisions for him.

“At the moment that we needed civil unions the most to provide equality, it failed for us miserably,” said Weiss. “To this day, the records at Bellevue Hospital do not recognize that I am the next of kin.”

Let’s say I didn’t want to go to a Catholic hospital because of those very concerns. Then the next closest hospital would either be Millard Fillmore-Gates Circle or Millard Fillmore Suburban, both about 6 miles away. That’s twice the distance, more stoplights, more chance for an accident or hitting traffic.

That’s the difference between life and death. And this bill’s language could mean that.

Will Gov. Chafee veto it?


  • 1. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    A gay marriage debate brews in Brooklyn

  • 2. Ann S.  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Adam, I started to write that federal rules now require visitation rights, and then I realized that that ONLY covers visitation rights, and not these other, possibly more important, concerns.

    Thank you for keeping us on top of this.

  • 3. Steve  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:19 am

    And even then, you'd still run into people who don't know about those rules

  • 4. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Maggie Gallagher in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL??!!

    New York's GOP Lets Down the Base

  • 5. Jason  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    The WSJ has become the print version of Fox News since it was purchased by Newscorp (Rupert Murdoch) a few years ago. It's a pity seeing it becoming a right-wing rag.

  • 6. Misken  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Good thing only the Opinion section has become this. The rest of the paper is still remarkable.

  • 7. Sagesse  |  June 30, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I recognize all the Newscorp publications are political…. But MAGGIE GALLAGHER? Aaargh.

  • 8. David Henderson  |  June 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    In the actual WSJ newspaper, the opinion page has a headline of "Gay Marriage: Two Views From the Right". Below that are two articles: "An Amen for Albany" by Walter Olson, which speaks favorably of the law, and "New York's GOP Lets Down the Base" by Maggie Gallagher, which speaks unfavorably. The two opinion pieces appear to be about the same length.

    Olson's piece is here:

  • 9. Elizabeth_Oakes  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I hope she has nightmares that resemble "The Blob" where the goopy icky scary gaymarriageness seeps in under the doors and through the cracks around the windows and floorboards and she screams and screams and screams until she is engulfed and no one can hear her anymore. Small repayment for the fascist nightmare she seeks to inflict on us IMHO.

  • 10. Dude  |  June 30, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Hilarious! I'll look at everything she and similar groups say with that image in my mind now. "The gaymarriage is coming! RUN!!!"

  • 11. Rebecca in Chicago  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Ugh, I really wish I hadn't read her pointless article. She continues to say that the majority of Americans do not support marriage equality, which is just plain wrong. I'm surprised the WSJ would publish something with such blatant factual errors in it.

    The tone of her article makes it clear that Maggie thinks pretty highly of herself. I feel sad for a woman who's sense of self importance and satisfaction in life comes from bringing down and hurting others. She's deep into her own fantasy world.

  • 12. Gregory in SLC  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:53 am

    tx everyone for sparing me the contamination of actually having to ready it! Hoping civil unions in IL are secure and Marriage not in the not-too-distant future! (great to hear from you Rebecca : )

  • 13. KY Gay Dad  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

    The RNC REALLY puts a lot of weight in Maggie's blubbering. So much so, they went and named a LCR to the RNC Finance committee. The gays are everywhere and they are coming to get you Maggie.

    You straight up lie in your WSJ essay. You know the sample set for your poll cited in the WSJ was intentionally biased. If you would have claimed a majority of self described social conservative, church attendees, over the age of 60, polled on the church steps oppose marriage equality; then you might have a little bitty, teeny shred of truth to your diatribe. Trying to characterize the majority of New Yorkers as opposed is just ludicrous.

    Tick, tick, tick…. No that is not your bio clock running out of steam; it's your relevance fading. every. single. second.

  • 14. KY Gay Dad  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:56 am

    make that …an LCR Executive…

  • 15. David Henderson  |  June 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Specifically, the LCR Executive Director, R. Clarke Cooper. Under his leadership in 2010, LCR was able to get enough Republican Senators to vote for the DADT repeal in December (and got 10 more Republican Representatives to vote for it in December than had voted for it in March, even though their votes weren't "needed" to pass it in the House).

  • 16. Doug F  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    This is just wrong that so many who don't believe in other's rights have such power over them…Civil Union in this case is clearly not the answer and full equality must be sought by anyone who loves freedom and truly believes in American equality.

  • 17. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    RI Senate passes civil unions bill

    "The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, a measure that Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he's inclined to sign."

  • 18. Waxr  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:22 am

    The old "separate but equal" ploy.

  • 19. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Insights on messaging, mixed in with the gossip.

    A Gay Rights Power Player Who Wields a Mighty Phone

  • 20. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    HIgh profile attention to DOMA and bi-national couples

    CNN Delves Into Case Of Bi-National Lesbian Couple About To Be Separated

  • 21. truthspew  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I think he will veto. It's a horrible bill and I'm very frustrated and angry about what has happened in my state.

    I'm very upset that Marriage Equality Rhode Island is wasting time on this bill too. But then, I don't like how HRC came and threw it's weight around, how Speaker Gordon Fox fucked us on the marriage equality bill, or how Senate President Paiva-Weed is an obstinate bitch about it.

  • 22. David  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    MERI did not want this bill and they still don't want it. The RI legislature pushed this even though nobody wanted it.

  • 23. karen in kalifornia  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Chafee is quoted as saying he will sign the CU bill even though he thinks the religious exemptions are "too broad".
    Won't do me and my culturally Catholic Italian American partner any good if we had to make medical or end of life decisions for each other.

  • 24. Alan_Eckert  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Oh the bittersweet moments =/

  • 25. seth from maryland  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm


  • 26. Guest  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I don't understand why religious groups get extra protection for this. Wasn't their argument that "marriage is a religious institution"? And if so, why do they get special rights here because this isn't "marriage" it's "civil unions".

  • 27. karen in kalifornia  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Because they make a lot o loud ugly noise about it.

  • 28. Str8Grandmother  |  June 30, 2011 at 4:35 am

    That! Is a very good point, Guest.

  • 29. Steve  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Because the US is a de facto theocracy

  • 30. Kim  |  June 30, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I so wish I could say you were wrong.

  • 31. takemusu  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    My UU congregation recognizes all families. Why aren't they supported and what about progressive congregations rights as well as our own?

  • 32. JC_  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    VETO VETO VETO. This bill is dreadful. And it will probably delay marriage equality in Rhode Island. This is what the openly gay speaker in the state legislature present us? I think we have a new winner for the Roy Cohn Award.

  • 33. Larry  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    For all the flaws with civil unions, they're not the cause of this problem in Rhode Island. The religious carve-outs are similar to the ones in the NY marriage bill right? So a civil unioned couple in RI would face the same problems as a same-sex married couple in NY at a religious hospital, with recognizing next of kin, etc.. Overall this bill gives RI couples many additional rights, even if it doesn't get all the way there. A net positive.

  • 34. Ann S.  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Larry, the RI religious exemptions differ in a very important aspect from the NY religious exemptions, and it is the language that Adam highlighted in the original post above. NY exemptions have to do with solemnizing marriages — RI adds broad language about "treating the marriage as valid". I believe Adam's example about a hospital refusing to recognize a same-sex spouse as next of kin is a good example.

    I don't know what current RI law is about discrimination, but if this is actually a step backward in terms of allowing discrimination, then it's highly dubious progress indeed.

  • 35. Ann S.  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The NY law can be read here, for contrast:

  • 36. Steve  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:26 am

    The NY bill also contains language that exempts religious organization and church owned businesses (a ridiculous concept to begin with). The RI bill apparently also exempts individuals! That's the BS clause Sen. Ball wanted and didn't get.

  • 37. JC_  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    No. The religious carve-outs are completely different. In NY, they just reiterate that churches can't be forced to marry gay couples (which was already the case, thanks to the First Amendment). They also reiterate that facilities owned by religious groups needn't cater to same-sex marriages, which is dumb but not that big of a deal. But a Catholic hospital in New York still has to recognize a gay marriage and the children thereof. In Rhode Island, an otherwise valid contract becomes invalid anytime it comes into contact with someone who doesn't like it. It's completely absurd. Imagine asking for a gym membership discount for your partner, but the guy behind the counter doesn't like same-sex couples, so he's like, "No, that violates my beliefs." Presto! Civil union not recognized. It gives every single institution in Rhode Island veto power over your relationship.

  • 38. JC_  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    And to be clearer, it doesn't just give every single institution in Rhode Island veto power, but every single individual as well. It's right there in the text. Any individual who chooses to treat your civil union as invalid has the full right to do so. Could "second-class citizen" be any more clearly spelled out?

  • 39. Ann S.  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    JC, I don't think the gym membership example is right, from my reading. It has to be someone working for a religious institution, in the course of their employment. If it were a gym run by the Catholic church, then maybe, but I'm not aware of any of those.

  • 40. JC_  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Reading it again, you're right–I retract my hysterical opposition!

    I do find it weird how often RI seems to have Democrats in leadership positions opposed to gay marriage.

  • 41. Larry  |  June 30, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I still am reading the NY law differently:


    Then in the next section of the bill:


    So it seems that section 10A gives religious organizations the ability to ignore the marriage of a same sex-couple, not just the ceremony itself, but it's corresponding legal effects such as next-of-kin status. And the next section says they can't be sued over that. If hospitals are included as a religious organization, it does seem that there'd be a problem there.

  • 42. Ann S.  |  June 30, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Hmm, you're right, Larry, that language about "advantages" or "privileges" is troubling.

  • 43. BDR  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Unfortunately there are plenty of Catholic/Baptist/Methodist/etc. hospitals and many aren't gay-friendly. As mentioned in the article, if a religious hospital is the closest one and they aren't gay-friendly, people in civil unions get boned.

  • 44. John73NM  |  June 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Are you guys sure it would be applicable to hospitals run by religious institutions and other similar things?

    "… no religious or denominational organization, no organization operated for charitable or educational purpose which is supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization…"

    As far as I know, hospitals and gyms are not charitable or educational organizations?

  • 45. Bryce  |  June 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I would think that there would be a fairly good legal case to be made for a Catholic hospital being classified as a "denominational organization".
    And, even if you don't buy that, if the hospital itself isn't a religious or denominational organization, then certainly the Catholic Church is; and, the bill speaks to such an entity "which is supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization". Ergo, even if not a per se religious organization, a Catholic operated hospital would, nonetheless, be exempted from recognizing civil unions under this bill.

  • 46. Trish  |  June 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Catholic Hospitals are religious organizations by IRS standards and are exempt from federal income taxation as such.

    Source: Years of work doing financing for religious hospitals.

  • 47. Steve  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:30 am

    It's also retarded to exempt schools and hospitals. They can teach what they want, but they shouldn't be able to discriminate against their employees.

    And I really hate the usual "They are privately funded, so they can do what they want" nonsense. Ordinary businesses are privately funded too. Yet they have to follow the law.

  • 48. Nyx  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Steve, please do not use the "R" word. It is ok to passionately express your opinion about a bad bill but please do not use terminology that insults and demeans the mentally disabled.

  • 49. fiona64  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:59 am

    On the contrary, hospitals are indeed educational organizations. Interns and residents have not yet graduated medical school, and grand rounds, continuing medical education, etc., are part of the educational process.

    <– Former CME Manager for two different (non-religiously affiliated) hospitals

  • 50. Sam_Handwich  |  June 30, 2011 at 4:46 am

    I'm disappointed not only in the lawmakers in my native Rhode Island, but also in the marriage equality advocates there…. they've never struck me as a terribly effective or focused group. The Roman Catholic hate machine has clearly won the messaging game at the State House. I had a bit more faith in Linc Chafee to do the right thing until i read the AP article above reporting he's "inclined" to sign the bill.

    And Chafee, quoted in the Providence Journal…"I understand the advocates' reluctance to sign on to it, but we're making incremental changes and that's what other states have done. New York, Vermont, they're making incremental changes that ultimately get to full gay marriage equality," he said.

  • 51. Sagesse  |  June 30, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Gay and Closeted

  • 52. peterplumber  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Even NOM doesn't like this bill.
    NOM-RI: Passage of Same-Sex Civil Unions Bill in Rhode Island A Disappointing and Dangerous Day for Marriage
    Fro that reeason alone, perhaps we should accpet it.

  • 53. RAJ  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:18 am

    OT but here's a story in this morning's Bangor Daily News in advance of today's rumored announcement:

    Comments section is interesting too.

  • 54. Ronnie  |  June 30, 2011 at 7:32 am

    GOOD NEWS!!!!!!…….Henry & Josh have WON!!!!!…..

    "The U.S. has dropped deportation proceedings against Henry Velandia in what is being seen as a significant victory for married same-sex binational couples who face being torn apart due to unjust immigration laws."

    Deportation Proceedings Dropped in High-Profile Same-Sex Immigration Case of Henry Velandia and Josh Vandiver

    Congratulations to Josh & Henry, & to their amazing lawyer Lavi Soloway….To all bi-national couples, the time is coming…..STOP THE DEPORTATIONS!!!…..EQUALITY NOW!!!!….. <3…Ronnie

  • 55. Nyx  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Thanks Ronnie, that is great news!

  • 56. MarcosLB  |  June 30, 2011 at 7:44 am

    This bill sounds like an invitation for lawsuits. If I was denied access to my partner by a hospital they would have to haul me away kicking and screaming. And then would come intense litigation.

  • 57. Ronnie  |  June 30, 2011 at 7:49 am


    Charlize Theron continues her abstention from marriage. She will not get married until all couples can get married under federal law….Big www. hugs, kisses & thank you's to our straight ally Charlize Theron… <3…Ronnie:

    [youtube XGHeSmGT548 youtube]

  • 58. luna2  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:22 am

    If I get NOM correctly (and I don't think Maggie and Brian together make a complete person) then here is the proper course for the marriage debate. All persons begin in civil union. Only when a child is produce under that legal union can the couple then apply to be officially married. At that point the marriage is binding and divorce is not an option.

    Has anybody every dreamed on getting down on one knee to propose to the person you want to share your life with with the words "will you civil union me?".

    I thought not.

  • 59. LCH  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:24 am


  • 60. wiseowl13  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

    In some little jerk-town in upstate NY the local Town Clerk, a religious gray haired old lady, says she will not issue or sign a Marriage License because it goes against her religious beliefs – unless it means her job. She obviously does know about the separation of Church and State. If I were the overseeing authority I would not tell her that her job is at stake and would just fire her. KEEP RELIGION OUT OF GOVERNMENT!!!!!

  • 61. Bill S.  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I hope he signs it and it gets taken to court as a clear example of how separate is not equal.

    Keep in mind that Catholic hospitals can already ignore gay partnerships in Rhode Island as there is no currently such legalized thing here. Even though it's a wildly flawed bill, it's still better than absolutely nothing, which is what we have right now.

  • 62. Gregory in SLC  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Ok Elizabeth – Mothra is one of my all-time favorite Godzilla movies ever!!!! ((HUGS)) Gregory.

    p.s. Kathleen forwarded an email from you to me….sorry about the "bad" address. replace the "tmail" with "gmail" and it should get through fine : )

  • 63. AnonyGrl  |  June 30, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I laughed and laughed at the idea of Maggie running around clutching her head, then finally exploding while you and your twin (who, for some reason in my picture was played by Drew Barrymore… no idea what that was about) sing karaoke to "I Will Always Love You" with very thick, fake Japanese accents, and doing those fake "air karate" kicks in your kimonos.

  • 64. Gregory in SLC  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

    lolrotf!!! – p.s. to anony…..check your email after work ; )

  • 65. Gregory in SLC  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Julie Cason posted this the other day…very good article related to this topic….It has stimulated several discussions between hubby and myself….

    Why Fundamentalists are Obsessed with Gays:

  • 66. Ozymandias71  |  June 30, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I've read this article several times since Julie posted it. Extremely good article!

  • 67. Maggie4NoH8  |  June 30, 2011 at 10:23 am

    While there are hospitals that are associated with a particular religion, most are not religiously owned/operated and incorporated as a religious entity. This is a key distinction…

    There are broad anti-discrimination laws at the federal level that hospitals are not exempt from IF they participate in any federal program (the big one being Medicare).

    This is exactly why federal laws (such as DOMA) and protections for LGBT person are essential – because entities that participate in federal programs are bound by federal laws and regulations as a condition of participation in that program.

    A couple of examples…

    Healthcare/treatment cannot be denied based upon ability to pay – as a condition of participation in the Medicare program. In practice, because most hospitals accept Medicare patients (I can’t think of any that don’t), that means anyone showing up at an emergency room must be treated regardless of ability to pay.

    Abortions – I work for a "catholic" hospital and the hospital absolutely does NOT perform abortions. Abortion may be legal, but the hospital "gets away" with that because it is not a condition of participation in the Medicare program and the law says the federal government does not fund abortions (I am purposefully ignoring sticky situations where the mother's life is endangered as that becomes complicated).

    COBRA benefits upon separation – federal law basically says anybody that provides health benefits while you are employed, must also extend those benefits for a given amount of time after employment has ended (at the cost of the individual). The law also contains provisions that if you become eligible for insurance under a new health plan (new job, 90 day wait period for benefits for example) and you have a certificate of coverage up to the date you are eligible, there are no pre-existing conditions that can be excluded from coverage under your new health plan.

    So everyone, I know COBRA is expensive, but it is VERY IMPORTANT that you KEEP YOUR COVERAGE!!!!! I like to give credit where credit is due – so thank you Bill Clinton for that (along with the "meat" of the laws covering privacy of health information in effect today).

    However, an interesting exception to COBRA benefits exists that I found out about the hard way when I worked for an Adventist hospital (Adventist Sunbelt headquartered in Orlando).

    When I left to work elsewhere, I found out the hospital did not provide COBRA benefits (and the accompanying, all important “certificate of coverage”). HR smugly told me that churches were exempt and the hospital was incorporated as the church. How Adventist Sunbelt gets away with this, I do not know – but it does goes to show the power churches wield. Another subject, another rant for another day.
    Moral of the story:

    1 – Keep your COBRA benefits!
    2 – Federal rights/benefits/protections are incredibly important because they “trickle down” to states and are often binding
    3 – just because you have the rights/benefits/protections, doesn’t mean some ignorant person or entity will be aware of them at exactly the time you NEED them to be!

  • 68. Alan_Eckert  |  June 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

    It should be noted that even Brian stumbled on the words when trying to say it on the MSNBC episode he was on with Rev. Sharpton.

  • 69. Kim  |  June 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

    To better support your point that it takes time to overcome prejudice and ignorance note that:

    "Although anti-miscegenation amendments were proposed in United States Congress in 1871, 1912–1913 and 1928, a nation-wide law against racially mixed marriages was never enacted. From the 19th century into the 1950s, most US states enforced anti-miscegenation laws. From 1913 to 1948, 30 out of the then 48 states did so. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional. With this ruling, these laws were no longer in effect in the remaining 16 states that at the time still enforced them."

    So this civil liberty is younger than I am, and discrimination against interracial couples still exists.

    "Lord give me patience. And may I please have it now."

  • 70. Sam_Handwich  |  June 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Bishop Tobin: Catholics may not take part in 'sinful' civil unions

    (Alternate headline: Celibate Man in Pointy Hat, Snazzy Frock, Lashes out at Semi-Equal Rights for Gays)

    "I am deeply disappointed that Rhode Island will establish civil unions in our state. The concept of civil unions is a social experiment that promotes an immoral lifestyle, is a mockery of the institution of marriage as designed by God, undermines the well-being of our families, and poses a threat to religious liberty." …

    "Because civil unions promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the Church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion, Catholics may not participate in civil unions. To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful. A civil union can never be accepted as a legitimate alternative to matrimony."

    If, for whatever reason, you need to read more of this trash:

  • 71. David Henderson  |  June 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    "A civil union can never be accepted as a legitimate alternative to matrimony."

    At least we agree on something!

  • 72. AnonyGrl  |  June 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    LOL We should use that quote in OUR publicity. With, of course, his name on it. It IS a direct quote.


  • 73. fiona64  |  June 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Hmm. i guess that the good Bishop is unaware of how many Catholics in Europe have civil unions — which are required for their marriages to be legitimate in the eyes of the law?

  • 74. Michguy  |  June 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    The civil union sonds like a good equal protection" federal lawsuit. Adn the part of the law that nulifies the entire law upon a finding of the law being unlawful sounds like another good "due process" federal lawsuit.
    And the part of the law that you said bars lawsuits only applies to stats lawsuits because states cannot bar you from a lawsuit in federal court, they can only bar you from state courts.

  • 75. veritasfiles  |  June 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Adam, it would seem to me that the insertion of the word "Individual" makes this even muddier. Sure, a Catholic hospital could outright deny services, but it appears that ANYONE at ANY hospital could do the same.

    Hypothetical: Adam, if you and your partner slogged the 6 miles to Millard Filmore Suburban, and you ran into a triage nurse for whom your civil union "violated their sincerely held religious beliefs," she could legally forbid you from making decisions. Sure, her superiors may later override, as the corporation itself is not a religious one. But, the language in this bill would seemingly provide no recourse for either you or the nurse's superiors to take action against her. And, what happens in those crucial minutes or hours when she is the sole authority?

    This is a terrible bill, and highlights the fact that ALL religious carve-outs further than the scope of the First Amendment are problematic. It sets a dangerous precedent that will affect every marriage equality bill across the country in coming years.

    Veto. No doubt.


  • 76. Mtn Bill  |  June 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    wonder what would happen if the hospital doesn't recognize the union, but then goes to collect the bill–who do they go after, and how does the civil union law interact with property ownership? Not sure about RI, since I live in a community property state.

  • 77. Priest  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    The hosnety of your posting shines through

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