R.I. House votes for marriage equality; bill also introduced in Hawaii

Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Senate will consider a bill brought forth by state Sen. Donna Nesselbush, an out lesbian and member of the state senate’s Judiciary Committee. If the measure is approved by the state Senate, it will go to the governor.

Rhode Island is the only New England state that has yet to enact marriage equality. The state does recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions, however.

And halfway across the globe, the marriage equality debate returned today to Hawaii as a bill was introduced in the State House and Senate.

The Human Rights Campaign announced it would mobilize volunteers in a joint campaign called Hawaii United for Marriage. The organization’s Western Regional Field Director Tony Wagner and Senior Regional Field Organizer Adrian Matanza will travel to the state to help coordinate efforts there.

All of this in a week when National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said marriage equality was not a “civil right” and chastised President Barack Obama’s comparison of Stonewall, the site of the 1969 riot that sparked the modern gay rights revolution, to the attack on peaceful African-American civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Ala.

Brown is obviously still reeling from the anti-gay group’s bitter November disappointment.

“Gay and lesbian people are already treated equally under the law. They have the same civil rights as anyone else; they have the right to live as they wish and love whom they choose. What they don’t have is the right to redefine marriage for all of society. In fact, six federal courts have rejected the idea that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court in a summary decision in 1972. Furthermore, that vast majority of states have codified the commonsense view held for thousands of years that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The President is profoundly wrong to imply that those who have acted to protect marriage have denied anyone’s rights by doing so.”

As marriage efforts continue to advance, Brown’s audience is going to continue to shrink and his victories become increasingly rare. Maybe that’s why NOM has spent so much time meddling in France’s marriage battle.


Top photo: R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (via Facebook)