As the hours dwindle to tomorrow’s Senate Judiciary Committee consideration of same-sex marriage, it appears advocates of gay unions have an advantage, say State House sources. What is still unknown is what will happen when the issue hits the Senate floor, which could come as early as Wednesday, or more likely, Thursday.
What is clear this time around is that the marriage equality campaign has done a better job this time around than two years ago, when the General Assembly approved civil unions in a compromise that pleased neither side.
A bill calling for a statewide referendum to decide the fate of same-sex marriage legislation was filed Wednesday in the state Senate. Proposed legislation also offers exemptions for religious officials and small businesses that don’t want to be involved with same-sex weddings.
The bill sponsored by Providence Democrat Frank Ciccone has 10 other sponsors, eight of them Democrats.
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a same-sex marriage bill in January. The Senate has slated a March 21st hearing.
As is always the case during debate on emotional social issues, the verbal parrying at the State House can drift into seriously ridiculous misinformation. Such is the case in Sunday’s gay marriage page one ProJo story by Phil Marcelo.
In this piece, Marcelo quotes Sen. Frank Ciccone III, D-Providence. Ciccone is a prominent opponent of same gender marriage; he has introduced legislation calling for a voter referendum on the issue.
Despite the same sex marriage momentum on Smith Hill, one lawmaker wants to put the issue on a ballot to let Rhode Islanders vote on changing the definition of marriage.
State Senator Frank Ciccone says his constituents are clamoring for a say on this red-hot issue. His proposed referendum would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "My constituents want it placed on the ballot so they have an opportunity to vote so they can make a choice on whether or not they are in favor of same sex marriage. And I am at this point in agreement with them."