Yesterday the Rhode Island Legislature took its final vote and enacted gay marriage in the state bring the number of states providing for gay marriage to 10 - nowhere near the percentage of states with gay marriage in Brazil, a former bastion of Catholicism. Needless to say, the Christofascists are far less than happy and the state's Roman Catholic bishop ranted that Catholics should not attend same sex marriage ceremonies. The powers of anti-modernity simply cannot cope with the steady erosion of their power to inflict their hate and fear based religious views on the rest of society. The tantrums and conniptions will surely continue even as the rest of society moves forward. Here are highlights from a Washington Post piece on the historic vote yesterday:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island on Thursday became the nation’s 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, as a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights in this heavily Roman Catholic state ended with the triumphant cheers of hundreds of gays, lesbians, their families and friends.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law on the Statehouse steps Thursday evening following a final 56-15 vote in the House. The first weddings will take place Aug. 1, when the law takes effect.
“I’ve been waiting 32 years for this day, and I never thought it would come in my lifetime,” said Raymond Beausejour, a 66-year-old gay North Providence man who has been with his partner for 32 years. “For the first time in my life, I feel welcome in my own state.”
After Chafee signed the bill, the hundreds of people who gathered on the Statehouse grounds erupted into cheers as a chorus sang “Chapel of Love.”
Once consigned to the political fringe, gay marriage advocates succeeded this year thanks to a sprawling lobbying effort that included support from organized labor leaders, religious clergy, leaders including Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and hundreds of volunteers. Their efforts overcame the opposition of the Catholic church and lawmakers including Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who voted no but allowed the issue to come to a vote anyway.
Supporters framed the issue as one of civil rights, arguing in daylong legislative hearings that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and protections given to opposite-sex married couples. The Catholic church was the most significant opponent, with Bishop Thomas Tobin urging lawmakers to defeat what he called an “immoral and unnecessary” change to traditional marriage law.
On Thursday, Tobin repeated his opposition, writing in a letter to the state’s Catholics that “homosexual acts are ... always sinful.”
Delaware could be the next state to approve gay marriage. Legislation legalizing same-sex marriage has narrowly passed the Delaware House and now awaits a vote in the state Senate.
Advocates in Rhode Island say that while they’re proud the state is the 10th to legalize gay marriage, they expect other states to follow quickly as support for same-sex marriage grows around the country. According to a November Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans support giving gay and lesbian
couples the right to marry, up from 27 percent in 1996.
Bishop Tobin, what's really sinful is denigrating and stigmatizing others. Oh, and did I mention protecting and abetting child rapists?