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Equality news round-up: Rhode Island will recognize out of state gay marriage, and more

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

– Breaking just now is news that the governor of Rhode Island has issued an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages from other states:

More from the Associated Press.

– In case you missed it: a GOP pollster says in a leaked memo that Republicans should support marriage equality along with other LGBT rights.

– The New York Times wrote a story about the suspicious death of a transgender woman and seems to be victim-blaming in its piece.

– The National Organization is spinning polling that is continuing its trend toward the equality side.

– The Wall Street Journal discusses the president’s support of marriage equality and its effects on the pending legal cases. There is not much the president can do to make marriage equality a reality nationally, other than the steps he has already taken, but the administration could join some of the pending cases in court.

The Washington Post questions if a majority of Americans really do support marriage equality, and to what extent it depends on how the question is asked.

– Colorado’s special session to hear civil unions and other bills began today, and Out Front Colorado is providing a live blog. Unfortunately early reports as of this writing suggest the bill is headed for a “kill committee” to die:

The bill has been assigned by McNulty to the State Affairs Committee. It is widely known as a kill committee.

– RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says gay people deserve “dignity and respect”, and even went so far as to say gays should not face employment discrimination. His party still opposes ENDA and marriage equality; their candidate Mitt Romney opposes civil unions and while he supported gay adoption for a short time last week, he opposes it now.

– The chairman of the DCCC, the group responsible for recruiting Democratic House candidates, says the president’s support for marriage equality was the right decision, and that it won’t impact House races.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  May 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm


  • 2. Kathleen  |  May 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    It's worth pointing out that the president has joined some of the court cases already. The DOJ is part of the Executive Branch and the position it's taken in the DOMA cases reflects the president's position. Of course, the Prop 8 case is something else altogether. Currently, the federal government has not weighed in on the case which involves only state law.

  • 3. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Oh of course. I just viewed the DOMA cases as a different issue from the Perry case or the new one in Nevada since those are about either state constitutional amendments or state "mini-DOMAs". When he made his announcement he said he believes it's still a state issue, so it will be really interesting to see if in the future the administration gets involved in cases that involve state decisions.

  • 4. Frisky1  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Would it be fair to say that the federal government has defacto weighed in on Prop 8 through their assertion (in the DOMA cases) that gays and lesbians are a suspect class in the courts? Assuming SCOTUS took the DOMA case and agreed, that would touch every state law and constitutional amendment that had anything to do with targeting gays and lesbians wouldn't it?

  • 5. Straight Dave  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    You're right, and that's exactly the reason many LGBT groups' overall strategy was to try to get DOMA addressed first, thus laying the foundation to take on state marriage laws.

    The one unfortunate part is that DOMA is such a slam-dunk that it can be brought down purely on rational basis. And the courts, as usual, seem to be going out of their way to hang their hat on that as long as possible to avoid the obvious implications you raise. DOMA's too easy. I suspect we won't see heightened scrutiny invoked until marriage is met head on.

  • 6. Straight Ally #3008  |  May 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Given that RI is small and surrounded by MA and CT, RI is for all intents and purposes a marriage equality state with the stroke of a pen. Outstanding, plus I can't wait for NOM's reaction! 😉

  • 7. Gregory in SLC  |  May 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Truly AWESOME! N.C. take note…little R.I. is being recognized for progress, and North Carolina is famous now for over the top bigotry.

  • 8. Truth Wins Out - Rhode Is&hellip  |  May 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    […] Prop 8 Trial Tracker] Tags: constitution, equality, full faith and credit, marriage, marriage equality, Rhode Island, US […]

  • 9. AnonyGrl  |  May 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    The RI news is HUGE. It means the Gov. has made an end run around the legislature… and for anyone living in RI it is a matter of a drive of about 20 minutes to get to CT where they can get married legally, then go home and BE legally married.

    That makes NINE states, and Washington DC!!! YIPPEE! That is almost 20% of the country!

    Well done RI!!!!

  • 10. Gregory in SLC  |  May 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    LOL YIPPEE! is what came to my mind too!… more willing to go on vacations to places that recognize our marriage. Its WONDERFUL to be in a place, even for a short time, where feel "legal" and acknowledged.

  • 11. Straight Ally #3008  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Darned activist elected officials! 😉

  • 12. Bill S.  |  May 15, 2012 at 6:30 am

    While marriage equality is essentially *de facto* legal now in Rhode Island it is not accurate to include it in the list of marriage equality states. Same-sex couples cannot get married in Rhode Island. However, the only barrier preventing a Rhode Island same-sex couple from being considered married in Rhode Island is now a 30-minute (at most) drive. I live in the center of the state and the Massachusetts border is a 15 minute drive on the highway. Yes, we're that small. 😛

    This will also put pressure on the General Assembly to just full-out legalize it. Marriage equality is popular here…we've been living so close to marriage equality states for a decade now, and it is essentially legalized now anyway.

    The problem is that our governor is highly unpopular, and if a Republican gets in (which is not outside the realm of possibility: the General Assembly is always around 90% Democratic but RIers don't have a problem electing Republican governors) s/he may repeal the executive order just as easily as Chafee enacted it. Although at that point this would probably trigger a huge lawsuit a la Prop 8 and we'd win through the courts.

  • 13. MJFargo  |  May 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Truly! Is this a first?

  • 14. AnonyGrl  |  May 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Not exactly a first… NY had this sort of thing… and some local cities around the country do too… but in RI, it effectively makes the state a marriage equality state even though you can't GET married there, simply because it is so easy to hop in the car and drive across a state line to somewhere that you CAN. Remember, RI is the size of a postage stamp. In NY it was more difficult to achieve the same thing.

    I don't know if other states recognize out of state marriages too… can anybody fill us in on that?

  • 15. Bill S.  |  May 15, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I don't believe there is any city that has the authority to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as *marriages*, perhaps under a local domestic partner registry.

  • 16. AnonyGrl  |  May 15, 2012 at 6:57 am

    What a city can do, and some have, is to grant all of the rights and protections of marriage to its own employees who have legal marriages from other jurisdictions. That is how they recognize same sex marriage. They cannot force other businesses to do so, but can insure that city employees have equal benefits and so on.

    It is not perfect, but it is a start. And I believe that other businesses in such places often do the same.

  • 17. Frisky1  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I thought Maryland was recognizing out of state marriages through the attorney general's opinion letter for about a year or so.

  • 18. Bill S.  |  May 15, 2012 at 4:27 am

    That's just an opinion of the attorney general. RI's attorney general did the same thing back in 2007 but our conservative Republican governor on the time did not act on it.

  • 19. Frisky1  |  May 15, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Maryland's governor did act on it and instructed state agencies to implement the recognition. Governor's words at the time: "I expect all state agencies to work with the attorney general's office to ensure compliance with the law."

  • 20. Ray in Sacramento  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    California has a similar law since 2009 entitled "The Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act sponsored by State Senator Mark Leno. It recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states that have same-sex marriage before Prop 8 was the law.

  • 21. Straight Dave  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    If MD flips this year then DE has the potential for being in a similar situation. And with civil unions already in place there, that's not too far fetched. Everybody in DE is within about 30 miles of MD. Then NJ starts to get squeezed…. you see the dominoes? I should stop drinking now 🙂

  • 22. Larry  |  May 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    That couldn't happen in Delaware, since Delaware state law specifically bans same-sex marriages. I think New Jersey and New Mexico are the only other states that don't explicitly ban or allow same sex marriage. Both of those states have Republican governors, so I don't see anything happening for a while.

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