Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the country, but they have a lot of heart. Good old “Little Rhody” isn’t taking the defeat of marriage lying down: instead, they’ve rallied to win civil unions this year, and marriage soon after.
There was plenty of rage last week when House Speaker Gordon Fox, himself a homo, conceded that they couldn’t deliver the votes for marriage in 2011. BOOOOOOO! Hiss. It’s super-disappointing news, given that polls showed that voters supported marriage. It means that legislators are lagging behind their own constituents.
So now we’ve jumped over to Plan B, which is to push ahead with civil unions for now. But there’s also an aspect of revenge to many activists’ plans: they plan to vote out as many anti-equality legislators as possible in 2012. Rhode Island equality organizations are pinning their hopes on a “vote out the bums” effort, effective immediately.
But that’s easier said than done, because without a vote on the marriage bill, we don’t know exactly which ones would have opposed it. But we have a few likely suspects, starting with Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed. She opposed the marriage legislation, proving that you can’t always assume that one party or another will always have the same approach to protecting LGBTs. She’s up for re-election in 2012, so hopefully she’ll be a footnote soon enough.
That having been said, some folks may be going a bit too far with their outrage. “It’s time to disband the House and Senate,” one protestor told the Associated Press. “It’s time to get rid of all of them.” Er well yes we are all very bummed that the bill didn’t pass, but maybe let’s hold off on destroying the foundations of representative democracy for just a little while longer.