Rhode Island En Route To Upgrading Crappy Civil Unions To Real Gay Marriages

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the nation, is headed for some big marriage-equality goals this year.

Ray Sullivan, the executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), tells Queerty that a gay marriage bill will “absolutely” be introduced into the legislature tomorrow—the last day to introduce bills.

State Rep. Art Hardy and state Sen. Rhoda Perry have told Sullivan they will sponsor the bill. Hardy and Perry are at this very moment collecting signatures and co-sponsorships from other state politicians.

“Governor Lincoln Chafee is also on board and has said he will sign a marriage-equality bill,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan admits that last year’s disastrous civil-unions bill was “fundamentally flawed and discriminatory.”

“The civil unions law was enacted at the relative last waiting days,” says Sullivan, “and fell through due to lack of leadership in the Assembly.”

He says that anti-gay politicians added a so-called Corvese Amendment at the last minute, the “particularly outrageous” language of which allows for any religion-affiliated institution (such as a college or hospital) to choose not to recognize a civil union.

In addition to pushing marriage equality, Sullivan says they’ll try to repeal the Corvese Amendment by pushing the Equal Religious Protection Act. Sullivan says MERI supports common-sense exemptions, like clergy who should not have to perform gay-wedding ceremonies they don’t feel comfortable with.

Lastly, he says they’ve partnered with other organizations to push a hate crimes bill that will protect transgender people.

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  • Pocket Otter

    I suspect that if gay marriage were made legal and gay teen suicides were to cease altogether, then the only things Queerty would write about would be gay porn twinks and drag queens.

  • KJM1968

    Get with it RI, you look foolish surrounded by marriage equality states. If we can
    kick Roger Williams out of Massachusetts, we can kick RI out of New England.

  • timncguy

    Where did anyone ever get the idea that any member of the clergy has ever had to perform any wedding, gay or straight, that they didn’t want to perform? Catholic priests have NEVER performed weddings for Catholics who have been divorced and no one has ever sued them over it. Divorced Catholics simply have civil weddings instead of church weddings. Has any couple ever tried to force a Baptist minister to perform a ceremony for a Jewish couple? Or, tried to force an evangelical minister to perform a Catholic wedding? What is it they think is going to happen? No one can force a congregation to allow a wedding in their church or by their clergy for a couple who are not a member of their church. And, a couple who is a member certainly can’t force its church to perform a wedding for them or recognize their relationship.

  • Tony P

    Not that I have anything against lobbying for laws that would end transgender discrimination I think MERI has now crossed the line. When I worked with them they were a single issue group, only Marriage Equality. Once that was achieved the organization would cease to exist. It seems like Sullivan is now trying to lengthen the lifespan of MERI.

  • christopher di spirito

    I never thought the day would come when heavily-Catholic Rhode Island had marriage equality before New Jersey. But, Gov. Fatso (cover your eyes Friend of Christie) would rather stand with Texas and Utah than New York and Massachusetts.

  • Ryan

    this title is heteronormativity at its ugliest. people have all sorts of relationships that aren’t marriage that aren’t crappy, whether or not they’re state sanctioned.

  • Robert in NYC

    Meanwhile, NJ’s marriage equality bill is dead on arrival when the Assembly votes today. I can just hear NOM et al gloating.

  • Friend of Christie

    @christopher di spirito: Just to show you how vulgar and childish you are for continuously using petty name-calling as your fiercest weapon against the governor, from now on I’ll refer to our current commander in chief as President Half-breed. Like you, I’m only making observations of fact, so there’s nothing demeaning about it, right? And in case you hadn’t noticed, President Half-breed doesn’t want you to marry your boyfriend, either, but you seem suspiciously clueless to this fact. When President Half-breed openly tries to legalize gay marriage, I’ll eat my words. But if you understood politics, you’ll understand that he’ll make promises to us in order to get our money and our vote, but once he’s in office for his last term, he won’t be in need of anyone’s support or influence and will do as he pleases (see: George W Bush, Bill Clinton). In fact, to my knowledge, President Half-breed has never said anything positive about the gay community, and yet for some reason, you believe him to be an ally. But I guess your delusions about the subject are irrelevant, because Chris Christie is fat, and that’s apparently all that matters to deep thinkers like yourself.

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