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Only 9 civil unions in Rhode Island during first month of availability

Marriage equality

By Adam Bink

Interesting:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Few Rhode Islanders have entered into civil unions since the state began offering them to gay couples.

Only nine couples were joined in a civil union in July, the first month civil union licenses were available, according to numbers obtained by the Associated Press on Monday.

Groups that fought this year’s losing battle to extend marriage to gay couples in the Ocean State say the tepid response to civil unions shows they are a poor substitute for marriage.

“If it had been marriage people would have been lining up,” said Dawn Euer, a spokeswoman for Marriage Equality Rhode Island. “People are holding out for marriage. They want true equality, not a made-up, bureaucratic, second-class status.”

The state lawmaker who wrote the civil union bill said it will take longer than one month to gauge the new law’s effect. Some couples may need time to weigh whether a civil union is right for them, he said.

“Give it time,” said Rep. Peter Petrarca, D-Lincoln. “It’s summer. I’m sure we’ll see an uptick once people start figuring it out and deciding what they want.”

This could be because, as Dawn says, people are holding out for marriage, or because people are on vacation, or because people are deciding what they want, as Petrarca says, or because, well, Rhode Island is small (though perhaps not that small). Or a combination of all four. Interesting nonetheless. What do you think, and what would you do?

53 Comments

  • 1. Ann S.  |  August 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Hmm, very interesting.

  • 2. peterplumber  |  August 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Remember, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country. Most western states have counties larger than Rhode Island. The number "nine" means nothing. What is the percentage based on the enitre state population?

  • 3. Bill S.  |  August 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

    The state has about 1 million people. Rhode Island is the smallest state by area, but still has a good sized population. 9 is a tiny number.

  • 4. Bill  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Who wants to sign on a dotted line to legally cement their second-class status?

    Not me.

  • 5. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    “Give it time,” said Rep. Peter Petrarca, D-Lincoln. “It’s summer. I’m sure we’ll see an uptick once people start figuring it out and deciding what they want.”

    WHAT AN A-HOLE!!!!!
    They want EQUALITY!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 6. Ronnie  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    "It’s summer. blah blah blah……."…… Maybe he thinks LGBT couples get unionized in the fall…you know after sitting around a table in a boardroom & negotiating facts & figures, writing down a number on a post-it & sliding it over to the opposing union rep. under ghastly fluorescent lighting that is horrible on the skin which means a good portion of whatever is reached in these negotiations is going to have to be spent on at least one day at the spa to rejuvenate their skin…..oh wait…. what are we talking about?…. oh yeah "civil unions"….. LOL….. <3…Ronnie

  • 7. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Right, summer, that's why there were so few marriages in New York! Oh, wait….

  • 8. Tony  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Too bad there is 9 that did it. No one should have to settle for a civil union now! Marriage is worth committing to. I agree to not signing up to be a secong class citizen.

  • 9. Chris in Lathrop  |  August 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I don't condone being forced to settle for 2nd class citizenry in any way, but perhaps these 9 couples did like I did when I decided to let the government become involved in my relationship with my wife: I couldn't conscience leaving her without health care.

    I totally feel ya, Tony. Nobody should have to settle, and nobody should be forced to sign up to be discriminated against. Sometimes needs outweigh ideals in the short run, though. [email protected]#$&n' politicians and bureaucrats! >:{

  • 10. Steve  |  August 20, 2011 at 4:22 am

    I'm not against CUs when it's the only option that's politically possible. It's better than nothing and often a stepping stone towards marriage.

    The Rhode Island situation is silly though. They don't perform marriages, but recognize them. So anyone with a bit of sense would just travel a short distance to their neighbors (both of which do have marriage equality) and sign the papers there.

  • 11. Steve  |  August 20, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Ok, did some checking and it seems they are not officially recognized, but only upon advice from the Attorney General. Still, I agree with the idea that easy travel to marriage equality states is the main reason this isn't popular

  • 12. Bill S.  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It is also quite insulting that same-sex marriages are NOT recognized in Rhode Island, even as a civil union, even though this is the norm in every other civil union/domestic partnership state. The reason for this, presumably, is that every gay couple in Rhode Island who wants to get married/unionized, has already done so in Massachusetts or Connecticut. By not recognizing these marriages, RI is trying to cash in on gay couples' need for state-level recognition. Sickening.

    This is my home state, and it's a wonderful, very liberal state, but our politicians are just absolutely the most inept people in the country.

  • 13. nightshayde  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Of course now they have the option to go to New York, too. It would be very interesting to find out how many gay couples from Rhode Island there are, and how many have crossed state lines to get married.

  • 14. Bill S.  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Distance is never an issue, as you are never more than 40-45 minutes away from a state border, and both our bordering states recognize equal marriage.

  • 15. Sam_Handwich  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I'm a native Rhode Islander now living – happily married – in Massachusetts.

    Bill….your complaint is about the elected politicians. My complaint, howerver, is about the lack of effective activism i've seen in RI

    Marriage Equality Rhode Island ("MERI"), the apparent primary marriage equality group in RI – seems to serve no other purpose than issuing statements after the various setbacks and failures. I visited their site repeatedly in the spring… i never found any opportunity for taking action, such as a state house rally, a list of legislators to contact….all the stuff that such organizations supposedly exist to facilitate. I mean sure, there's a "Donations" button…but who wants to donate to an organization that's asleep at the wheel?

  • 16. Sam_Handwich  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    ..and a quick story…

    last summer, when the infamous NOM bus came rolling into Providence, my partner and I drove to the State House for a couter-rally. The rally had not been organized by MERI, but by some "queer RI" group (not sure of the exact name). They did a great job getting the word out – with just a few days notice we attracted a crowd much larger than NOM's…we were all armed with signs, noise makers and the red shirts they suggested we wear. But the point is, MERI had no apparent presence. I mean – What the hell??? Maybe i'm out of line. Can anyone talk me down?

    And here's our picture from that event:
    http://pvrphoto.zenfolio.com/quari_ctrptst_07_18_

  • 17. Bill S.  |  August 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    The politics in this state are so stagnant. It's a very corrupt political climate and the Democrats are far too comfortable in their seats (the Republicans have only a small handful of seats in both houses). We really need a viable second party in this state. Rhode Islanders for the most part, do not like the Republican Party, and that party has never been viable except in the highly publicized governor's race. In the piddly races for local representatives, everyone just checks "Democrat." We also desperately need term limits.

  • 18. Dawn  |  August 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Hey Bill S. & Sam Handwich,
    I only began working full-time at MERI in June, but I'm happy to take feedback or help. If you don't want to donate money, I'm happy to accept your time. 🙂 You can email me at [email protected] or call the office 401-941-2727 or my cell 401-264-0680 and I have a bunch of projects that we need help with.
    As far as a voter guide, we will be heavily involved in the 2012 legislative session and the elections. Redistricting makes things a little more complicated (as it will make it more complicated for anyone who is involved with elections in 2012) but we will make sure to get the word out about who the pro-equality candidates in Rhode Island are. If you don't think we are doing that effectively, please contact me with suggestions of how to improve.
    As far as our website, we have been making changes to it in order to make it easier for people to sign up and help the campaign but to be honest, a complete website overhaul is in order. So, for right now, your best bet to keep up-to-date on our progress is our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MERhodeIsland.
    As far as Rhode Island, MERI (and I) obviously can't speak to every single person's reason for not getting a civil union, but one important point that was missed in this coverage is that the RI civil union law is completely terrible. Some of the most egregious religious exemption language was included which has the potential effect of completely gutting the law. I actually wrote a longer blog about what some of the problems are. http://www.marriageequalityri.org/blog/post/whats
    I hope this helps and again, please don't hesitate to contact me with feedback or questions.

  • 19. Bill S.  |  August 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    They have had some statehouse rallies, but you're right they could be doing a lot more. I really hope they put together a voter information guide for the 2012 elections. They did not have one in 2010, so I did not know what my representatives' stances were on marriage equality (and to this day still don't know, although they both voted yes on the civil unions bill).

  • 20. Dawn Euer  |  August 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Hey Bill S. & Sam Handwich,
    I only began working full-time at MERI in June, but I'm happy to take feedback or help. If you don't want to donate money, I'm happy to accept your time. 🙂 You can email me at [email protected] or call the office 401-941-2727 or my cell 401-264-0680 and I have a bunch of projects that we need help with.
    As far as a voter guide, we will be heavily involved in the 2012 legislative session and the elections. Redistricting makes things a little more complicated (as it will make it more complicated for anyone who is involved with elections in 2012) but we will make sure to get the word out about who the pro-equality candidates in Rhode Island are. If you don't think we are doing that effectively, please contact me with suggestions of how to improve.
    As far as our website, we have been making changes to it in order to make it easier for people to sign up and help the campaign but to be honest, a complete website overhaul is in order. So, for right now, your best bet to keep up-to-date on our progress is our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MERhodeIsland.
    As far as Rhode Island, MERI (and I) obviously can't speak to every single person's reason for not getting a civil union, but one important point that was missed in this coverage is that the RI civil union law is completely terrible. Some of the most egregious religious exemption language was included which has the potential effect of completely gutting the law. I actually wrote a longer blog about what some of the problems are. http://www.marriageequalityri.org/blog/post/whats
    I hope this helps and again, please don't hesitate to contact me with feedback or questions.

  • 21. Bill S.  |  August 20, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I would love to help MERI but I am actually moving to France for a year very soon. Unless there is some extenuating circumstance that I am unaware of, I think MERI is completely wrong to entirely discount a judicial approach to legalizing equal marriage. The "Corvese Amendment" is perfect material for showing how civil unions are not equal to marriage: it provides for incredibly broad, legally sanctioned forms of discrimination that apply only to civil unioned couples and not married couples. I think a favorable ruling in federal district court is VERY likely and Gov. Chafee would have no reason to appeal it.

  • 22. Dawn  |  August 21, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Yay for living abroad! I have traveled quite a bit, never to France, although I hear it's amazing. I'm going to Scotland and then Italy for a couple weeks in September. 🙂 I hope your trip goes well and you have a fantastic time!
    We're absolutely not ruling out any strategy. There are pros and cons to legislative vs. judicial and we need to make sure we are using all of them to move the ball forward.
    Personally, (not speaking for the org here) I think we'll be successful more quickly via election & legislative strategy than we will be through the courts. There are already federal cases moving forward that would be helpful and some advocates involved in those cases seem to think the decision is going to come out the correct way. I also think (am not positive and would have to check in with GLAD about this) that our case would have to be filed in RI state court first. By the time it makes it's way up to the US supreme court (because based on the RI divorce case I think the RI supreme court would rule against us) we will be through quite a few election cycles.

  • 23. Bill S.  |  August 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

    It is possible that a federal judge could decline to hear a marriage equality case if the plaintiffs did not first try to seek remedy through state courts. I can understand that an unfavorable judicial decision might negatively affect our chances legislatively, but I still think it is worth trying to get the ball rolling. The Corvese Amendment would be absolute gold in a court — either state or federal — especially if you can find a plaintiff directly affected by it.

  • 24. Alan_Eckert  |  August 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    We should wait until the 2010 census information has been released for RI to get an idea of what is going on in the state.

  • 25. Alan_Eckert  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    The latest numbers can be found here for ss families.
    http://thinkprogress.org/tag/census/

  • 26. AnyaAngie  |  August 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for that link! I was curious about how many same-sex couples there were in PA, and I find that there are over 33,602, so far the 4th most-populated state for same-sex couples and 20% are raising children. That's pretty cool!

  • 27. jpmassar  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    They should be lining up to file lawsuits on equal protection grounds instead of lining up for civil union certificates.

  • 28. Bill S.  |  August 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I agree…especially if the 1st Circuit rules in the DOMA cases that sexual orientation merits heightened scrutiny. We have a pro-marriage equality governor (Lincoln Chafee), so he wouldn't appeal a favorable decision to the Supreme Court.

  • 29. Dawn  |  August 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    But we're seeing how that is playing out on the federal level….the governor wouldn't be the only one to enforce the law. Although I'm not sure how that procedural law translates in RI. Additionally, the RI courts don't exactly have a history of being pro-equality.

  • 30. Bill S.  |  August 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    The RI Supreme Court has only ever ruled that the statutory marriage law, despite not having a specific clause saying "Marriage is between a man and a woman" cannot be interpreted as permitting same-sex marriages (due to other gendered language in the laws). They have never ruled on whether this statutory law itself violates the RI Constitution.

  • 31. Dawn  |  August 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Again this is my personal opinion, and not to be taken on part of the organization, but the fact that they spoke to that issue while the case was a divorce case is, I think, pretty telling as to how they would decide a marriage case. They could've written the opinion more narrowly to not include defining marriage. Especially considering the case came down the year after the AG at the time had written an executive opinion supporting marriage equality.
    You probably already know this, but the RI statutes don't actually have a definition of marriage between a man and a woman. The statutes refer to husband & wife, but there is not clause about marriage only between a man and a wife. That's why the RI supreme court case is so damning….that was their statutory interpretation of the marriage statutes. There isn't a separate statute to challenge.

  • 32. Bill S.  |  August 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I think the RI Supreme Court was correct in saying that current statutory law cannot be interpreted as currently written to include same-sex couples, based on the gendered language in the law, and the conception of what constituted a marriage at the time of its adoption. This is answering a *statutory question.*

    This is entirely different from saying that the statutory law itself violates the Constitution, which would be a *constitutional question.*

  • 33. 415kathleenk  |  August 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    i think most rhode islander lgbt are holding out for marriage equality. I don' t think badly of he 9 who signed up for civil unions. I remember getting our first CA domestic parternship back in 1996- it felt momentous at the time.
    We also did the following
    2nd DP- upgraded 2000- after CA made dp = marriage in everything but name
    Mayor Newsom's 2004 winter of love temporary marriage
    July 2008 real civil marriage!!

    i just tell people" However many times we need to do it." although i hope 2008 was the last- i can't afford another wedding. Just waiting for full federal rights to kick in now :))))

  • 34. Ronnie  |  August 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    BREAKING: Denver lesbian’s deportation ruling postponed http://outfrontcolorado.com/ofcblog/ofcnow/breaki

    Victory for Sujey and Violeta Pando! Judge Halts Deportation, Sets January Date to Consider Application Based on Their Marriage http://stopthedeportations.blogspot.com/2011/08/v

    KEEP UP THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!…STOP THE DEPORTATIONS!!!!…EQUALITY NOW!!!!!………<3…Ronnie

  • 35. truthspew  |  August 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Or because we all know that the civil unions law, as enacted, is a flaming piece of shit! Too many exceptions, it's bad law, and it's going to end up in the courts.

    I'm so pissed about what happened. Why? I worked hard along with a dedicated team at Marriage Equality Rhode Island. I helped them become a political force, only to have HRC fly in and quash the whole thing and give us an ersatz substitute.

    I will say it loud and I will say it clear, HRC get the fuck out of Rhode Island!

  • 36. Tim in Sonoma  |  August 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I keep hearing bad things about HRC! truthspew I believe you, but what do you know? What is HRC doing to piss everyone off? I have already stopped donating to them and give any extra dollar to the Courage Campaign, but would like more info!

  • 37. Bruce  |  August 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    As one of those "gay youths" everyone's always talking about, one who recently graduated from high school with a support group and reading this site and Box Turtle Bulletin regularly, I am always extremely disturbed to read comments about HRC posted in the comments sections of articles. For that reason, I don't read several of the gay news blogs– it frankly worries me that such dissension exists in the ranks of those who support full rights for gay people. Am I missing something? Is HRC really such a malignant, awful organisation that it deserves to be reviled/overthrown? Was I wrong, when I signed up for my bank account a couple of years ago, to check the box to request the HRC debit card? Or is it just internet commenters being internet commenters again? :/

  • 38. Kalbo  |  August 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I think the frustration with HRC (and GLAAD) is that they got too comfortable with the status quo. They cozy up to corporations and politicians but don't really rally the cause to affect real change. For example, they were timid to bring any challenge in the courts.

    AFER, Courage Campaign, GetEqual, et al. … these groups sprung up in response to dissatisfaction with the status quo — we deserve equal rights, and we deserve it now! And suddenly, things started to happen.

    DADT got repealed. DOMA is being challenged and we're winning. And the suit against Prop 8, against the initial wishes of the GLBT old guard, was filed and Walker's ultimate ruling resulted in a huge victory for equality. Finally all of the facts are on in the judicial record, and, if upheld nationally, full equality will finally be obtained (and even if this case doesn't make it to the Supreme Court, AFER's stated goal is to get another case up there until this kind of ruling is made).

  • 39. jpmassar  |  August 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    To be fair, HRC apparently played a big role in winning marriage equality in NY. But that's recent. I think your criticism is more than valid.

  • 40. DaveP  |  August 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    In my opinion, if HRC had done their damn job in 2008 prop 8 probably would not have passed. I was very involved in the No on 8 campaign and I saw a lot of organizations doing a lot of work, both on the ground and in the media, but I saw almost NO action at all from HRC during the months leading up to the 2008 election. I got lots of emails from them asking for more money and an occasional email inviting me to some pseudo A-List cocktail party but I never saw them actually DO anything to stop Prop 8. It seemed like all the money I had donated to them had been wasted on cater waiters and appetizers instead of spending it on things that could have actually stopped prop 8.

  • 41. Donald  |  August 20, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Ask yourself, does Joe S, the chief Obama-bot, deserve a salary of $330,000 a year after what HRC has failed to do in the past 10 years. And before Joe S., we had Ms. Birch, and we all know what happened with her at the head. If you want to donate money, there is GLAD in Boston which is handling the DOMA case. Otherwise, support your local LGBT organizations. I've been involved in the gay struggles since 1970, and organizations like HRC, GLAAD, and NGLTF are pretty much worthless for anything except requesting donations. Check out the GLAAD annual report from 2010 and go to page 20 to find out what GLAAD is all about.

  • 42. AnonyGrl  |  August 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I wonder how many RI couples have gone across the boarder to Connecticut?

  • 43. Phillip R  |  August 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Not sure if this has been posted or not but another article up on the SCOTUSblog from Ewrin Chemerinsky, Dean and Professor of Law for University of CA – Irving.

    Very pro-equality. Good read.
    http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/08/the-time-for-ma

  • 44. John_B_in_DC  |  August 20, 2011 at 7:49 am

    What I found particularly interesting in the SCOTUSblog symposium was the commentary by Bob Barr, one of the original authors of DOMA but who nows disavows it and believes it is a bad law that should be repealed (of course NOM makes no mention of him or his change in position on their blog):
    http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/08/the-true-marria

    I was particularly struck by this line in Barr's commentary: "DOMA also has had real-world consequences. In the case of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer, DOMA prevented a loving spouse from leaving her full estate to her widow without intervention from the federal government." Yes, marriage DOES have consequences. If NOM can use that line, so can we, and we should be pointing out the cruel and harmful real-world effects of the non-recognition of our unions. When people hear about cases like Edie Windsor, or people who face the deportation of their legally married spouse, how can they not care, how can they not see the heartlessness, the injustice, the outright cruelty? I say it's time to co-opt NOM's "marriage has consequences" campaign.

  • 45. John_B_in_DC  |  August 20, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Yet NOM and their allies are opposed to civil unions as well, which we need to keep stressing over and over because it shows them for the heartless extremists they are. Every time a new poll comes out they make a big deal out of a majority of voters opposing same-sex marriage, but more and more this is only the case when civil unions are offered as an option. Taken together with full marriage rights, very large majorities in virtually every recent poll have supported legal recognition of same-sex unions; the only issue is what to call them. Only a small minority think we should have no legal recognition, rights, or protections but this small minority is who NOM and the other vocal opponents of same-sex marriage are allying themselves with.

  • 46. Ronnie  |  August 20, 2011 at 7:44 am

    WWE Wrestlers Unite Against Bullying (Video) http://instinctmagazine.com/blog/wwe-wrestlers-un

    Insurance Companies Provide Fair Ground to Gay Couples http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/08/1

    "Married couples usually save about 10% off auto premiums, Esurance's Eric Madia told CBS News. Though State Farm and Allstate already give reduced rates to gay couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage equality, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, Esurance is also offering the same benefit in a handful of states (California, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington). The small company is also exploring that option in other states."

    (me) Another benefit of being married that opponents of Equality take for granted…..Oh, I forgot they don't take it for granted, they think only they deserve that benefit…… meanwhile the rest of us have less money to feed our children, pay our bills, rent, etc. etc. etc.,or what have you…… more proof that the opponents to Equality are SELFISH/GREEDY………period…..anywho, good on the the insurance companies & good on the WWE wrestlers…. It is getting better………….. <3…Ronnie

  • 47. karen in kalifornia  |  August 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Has anyone mentioned the EXTREME religious exemptions which were written into the RI CU law????

    Or it could be……..because the extreme religious exemptions by pass well established public anti-discrimination and accommodation laws. Under these exemptions, religious affiliated services such as hospitals DO NOT have to recognize or honor same sex legal relationships. That's right, your partner is in ICU in one of the many Catholic hospitals…you are nobody to her.

    These EXTREME exemptions were added by amendment in the Senate and the only way the bill made it out of the Democrat majority Judiciary Committee for a vote. That's the disappointment. Not only that but the RI law does not recognize legal ss marriages from out of state as a RI CU. This is one of the worst legal relationship laws written. Why would anyone want to sign on?

    MERI is collecting stories from folks on how CUs don't do anything for their relationships. What's wrong with Civil Unions? http://www.marriageequalityri.org/blog/post/whats

    Join the fun.

  • 48. Fr. Bill  |  August 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    You might want to look at the reports that the States of Vermont and New Jersey issued showing the inadequacies of "civil unions" to provide equal rights and benefits to GLBT families.

  • 49. Ray in MA  |  August 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Karen,

    Her name is M. Teresa Paiva Weed… the reason for the religious exemptions…

    The local dirt: (in case you missed it)
    http://culturecampaign.blogspot.com/2011/06/gay-c

    I told you so…

    Ray in MA · 26 weeks ago
    The major OBSTACLE to success in RI Marriage Equailty is:

    M. TERESA PAIVA WEED
    President of the RI Senate

    Based on her record, she is a puppet of the local Catholic Bishop. http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/paivaweed/Biography…..

    All we have to do is convince her (which i don't think can be done)

    Anyone up for the challenge?

    Contact: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/paivaweed/Contact.ht….

  • 50. Schteve  |  August 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    “The small number of couples entering into civil unions shows that gay marriage advocates are more interested in the marriage label itself, and not the practical rights that marriage brings, said Chris Plante, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage-Rhode Island.

    ‘It shows the debate is not about rights or benefits or privileges,’ Plante said. ‘The fact that gays and lesbians have not exercised this new right shows that the only thing they want to do is redefine marriage.'”

    Mr. Plante assumes that using the marriage label is itself not a right, and that what the National Organization against Marriage has done in California and Maine is not redefining marriage.

  • 51. Dawn Euer  |  August 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    My original comments were much longer than the AP article printed, but I wrote a follow-up blog post because the comment about it being summer and comments by NOM were (not surprisingly) so incredibly off-base. http://www.marriageequalityri.org/blog/post/whats

    One thing that karin in kalifornia mentions is the extremely broad religious exemption language that was included in the RI civil union. The exemption language was added during the RI House floor debate and goes farther than any other religious exemption language. In fact, it is so extreme that there are questions as to whether or not the exemptions swallow the entire law. That uncertainty is likely a huge reason why people are holding off. Additionally, people can easily travel across state lines and get married. With New York, we now are surrounded on all sides by equality states (RI shares a water border w/ NY) But I do think one of the biggest reasons is the sense that full equality is not that far off. We started 2011 confident that this would be the year. Unfortunately, we underestimated the strength of the resistance in the Senate. We won't make that mistake twice and we are in the process of fine tuning our legislative and electoral strategy for 2012. We're done educating our elected officials. Now we need to make sure we have a solid electoral strategy and put the fear of losing and election in their heads.
    As I mentioned in comments above to other users, I'm happy to get feedback and help from anyone. We can't do this alone. Email me [email protected] or call me 401-941-2727.

  • 52. AnonyGrl  |  August 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I think THIS answers it all…
    http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/08/2

  • 53. Sincerely Charles  |  August 23, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I personally would never settle for a civil union. I understand the unions as a compromise, but for me I want the full rights of marriage as much as my straight counterparts. Especially since I feel the nation as a whole is headed toward marriage equality, I'm willing to keep fighting and waiting for that truth to become a reality, rather than succomb to the temptation to accept "good enough" civil liberties.

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