Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin issued a statement this morning, calling on the General Assembly to put the brakes on same-sex marriage legislation due to the US Supreme Court's consideration of related issues:
“In light of the historic deliberations of the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage, it would be appropriate for the General Assembly of Rhode Island to defer any action on this critical issue for the time being. Any legislative action that is taken now could very well be rendered completely null and void by the decision of the Supreme Court expected this June. It is likely that the Supreme Court will decide this matter for us, one way or another. Let’s wait to see what the highest court of the land says about this issue which is so very important to many Rhode Islanders.”
Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, which wants the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage, fired back with this from the Reverend Gene Dyszlewski, chair of the Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality:
"With all due respect to His Excellency, neither case before the Supreme Court has any bearing on the decision of the General Assembly to make marriage available to all loving, committed couples in Rhode Island," said Rev. Dyszlewski. "This is another in a long string of delay tactics -- seeking to stall the strong momentum of marriage equality legislation -- by those who oppose allowing all families to access the dignity and respect of marriage. The fact is, no decision issued by the Court will render 'null and void' any state legislature's ability to grant the freedom to marry to all its citizens.
"We respect the Senate process, and are appreciative the Judiciary Committee is continuing to consider the testimony from last week's unprecedented 12-hour long hearing. We are still engaging in thoughtful and productive conversations with all members of the Senate.
"This is a holy week for many Rhode Islanders, as we gather around Seder tables and paschal candles. I, for one, will pray for our elected leaders in the General Assembly, that they may hear God's call to love one another, as He loves us."
The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to schedule a vote on either of two competing same-sex marriage bills.