I came across these signs while walking home this afternoon. If you can’t quite make it out, it is signs denoting “gay” and “straight” lanes hung from the Atwells Avenue overpass over Route 95. I’m assuming this is a statement on civil unions.
Author Archive | Jef Nickerson
MERI calls on supporters to tell Chafee to veto civil unions bill
In an email this afternoon, MERI called on their supporters to contact Governor Chafee and urge him to veto the Civil Unions bill:
By now, you’ve heard that the Senate passed a civil union bill last night that included the dangerous and discriminatory Corvese Amendment. That means that if this bill becomes law, private and religiously-affiliated organizations will be allowed to ignore the legal rights of civil union spouses. You know why this bill is bad, you know all about the harm it will bring to thousands of gay and lesbian couples in loving, committed relationships, and you know that it shouldn’t be signed into law.
I need you to call Governor Chafee’s office right now at (401) 222-2080, and tell him to veto H6103 because it includes the discriminatory Corvese amendment. It will only take you about 30 seconds, but trust me, if enough of us raise our voice in opposition to this injustice, it can make a big difference.
Here’s an idea of what to say:
Hi, this is____, from________, and I’m calling to let you know that I want the governor to veto the civil union bill because it includes dangerous and discriminatory language that will hurt thousands of gay and lesbian couples and families. Thank you.
Pretty easy, right? Now, go do it! Call 222-2080 and speak out against discrimination and intolerance. And when you’re done, send us a note to let us know you made the call and if you received any important feedback.
What is the Corvese Amendment?
You may have heard the Civil Union bill is bad because of the “Corvese Amendment.” What is that? It was added to the House version of the Bill by Rep. Arthur Corvese (D – District 55 – North Providence).
The Amendment reads:
15-3.1-5. Conscience and religious organizations protected. – (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no religious or denominational organization, no organization operated for charitable or educational purpose which is supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, and no individual employed by any of the foregoing organizations, while acting in the scope of that employment, shall be required:
(1) To provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, certification, or celebration of any civil union; or
(2) To solemnize or certify any civil union; or
(3) To treat as valid any civil union; if such providing, solemnizing, certifying, or treating as valid would cause such organizations or individuals to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
(b) No organization or individual as described in subsection (a) above who fails or refuses to provide, solemnize, certify, or treat as valid, as described in subdivision (a)(1), (a)(2) or (a)(3) above, persons in a civil union, shall be subject to a fine, penalty, or other cause of action for such failure or refusal.
So, what does that mean? It could mean that you find yourself stuck down and rushed to Fatima Hospital. Your Civil Unioned Partner (I’m not sure if we’re allowed to use the word spouse) comes to be with you and make decisions on your care. Fatima can say, they do not recognize your partnership and require someone who they recognize as kin to come to make decisions on your behalf. An employee at Providence College could find their partner denied access to spousal health benefits.
Will this happen? Neither Fatima nor Providence College nor any other religious institution has made any announcement of policies regarding their recognition of Civil Unions; but they have every right to do these things and more.
Related: RIFuture: Why the New “Civil Unions” Bill Actually Sucks
Meanwhile… Up in Maine
On May 6, 2009 Maine became the first state in the country to pass a marriage bill through its Legislature and have it signed by its Governor. Unfortunately for Mainers, that equal marraige legislation was later overturned at the ballot box by Maine voters.
Today however, Why Marriage Matters Maine, EqualityMaine, and GLAD announced they are moving to get marriage back on the ballot in Maine in November 2012.
For the past year and a half, EqualityMaine and GLAD been focused on moving Mainers to be more supportive of marriage for gay and lesbian people. Since March, we’ve had one-on-one conversations with more than 20,000 Mainers about marriage; we’ve already changed a lot of minds and we’re changing more every day.
Now, after extensive conversation and consultation, with you – our members – we are excited to take the next step in the campaign to win marriage for all Mainers.
We intend to ask Mainers at the ballot in November 2012 to support marriage equality – and we believe that Maine people will do so. The process of winning the freedom to marry begins today with the submission of proposed ballot language to the Maine Secretary of State.
Visit Why Marriage Matters Maine’s website to learn how you can support their efforts.
Series of polls show majority support for Marriage Equality nationally
A series of national polls in recent months show a surge in support for Marriage Equality Nationally:
A first: Majority of Americans now supports same-sex marriage, Gallup finds
Los Angeles Times:
Thanks to a radical shift in thinking among independents and Democrats during the past year, for the first time in Gallup Poll tracking a clear majority of Americans now approves of gay marriage.
A new Gallup Poll released this morning finds that this month 53% of Americans say same-sex marriage should be recognized in law as equally valid with traditional male-female marriages.
The spurt in support of 9% in the past 12 months was the largest registered since Gallup first tracked the topic in 1996. Back then, only 27% supported same-sex marriage and two-thirds opposed.
Support for same-sex marriages had hovered in the low 40’s since about 2004, until the latest figures, showing 59% of independents and 69% of Democrats now support the idea, while 28% of Republicans do. The GOP figure was unchanged from 2010.
Yet another poll says majority of Americans support gay marriage
The Colorado Indepent:
A poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute on Thursday confirmed what several other national pollsters have found: A majority of Americans now support marriage rights for same-sex couples. The poll found that 51 percent of Americans supported legalizing gay marriage compared to 43 who opposed legalization.
Slim majority back gay marriage, Post-ABC poll says
Five years ago, at 36 percent, support for gay marriage barely topped a third of all Americans. Now, 53 percent say gay marriage should be legal, marking the first time in Post-ABC polling that a majority has said so.
Poll: Majority supports gay marriage
Of those surveyed for a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll [.pdf], 51 percent said they think marriages between lesbian and gay couples should be recognized as legal and come with the same rights as heterosexual unions, while 47 percent said the marriages should not be recognized.
The last time CNN asked the question, in April 2009, approval for gay marriage was at 44 percent and disapproval was at 54 percent.