Monday, February 27, 2006

A Little Rowdy in Rhody

Down in Providence, changes occur. Yeah, yeah, they'll get to it.

Like a mouse peeking out the hole, ducking back, peeking, ducking, the same-sex marriage law-to-be is trying yet again. This time, they don't expect to pass it, but following a big public rally this month in favor, they sure would like it out of the House Judiciary Committee for a vote.

Of the 14 committee members, six are co-sponsors. With the governor, senate president and house speaker opposed, the bill faces a battle, even as the polled public favors it. Otherwise in the committee, it's a toss-up whether two other members can separate their religious feelings from civil rights and contracts.

If it does get to the legislature, its fate is unknown, according to pro-SSM and gay House Majority Leader Gordon Fox. "Whether it's a good idea to move the bill out of committee only to run into a stone wall on the House floor or in the Senate, he said it was too early to say."

Rhode Island's clocks run a little slower and even the calendar pages flip on their own schedules.

And Shrub Slams Partners

The just-as-good folk will have to look skyward and hum again. The state just announced that while it extends medical coverage to domestic partners, for those folk, this is taxable income. It is not for married couples.

That exquisite Catch-22 is the favorite of the practitioners of schadenfreude. No, you can't get married, but we'll treat you equally legally otherwise. Oh, by the way, this set of rights and benefits is only for the married, and (bwa ha ha) you're not married.

This is what Providence Journal writer Bob Kerr called, The Love Without Marriage Penalty. "A bunch of people are not left facing a serious financial hit that they couldn't see coming...They thought they were equal, only to find out they were just sort of equal."

To his credit, the prime sponsor ro R.I.'s Domestic Partner Benefits Law, Rep. Gordon D. Fox, will try to correct the oversight. He and his forces had not anticipated a federal IRS tax ruling aimed squarely punishing domestic partners with discriminatory taxation. Gordon says that this week he will introduce a bill to offset the penalty.

So, back to the House Judiciary Committee, the domestic-partnerships-are-fine folk have something else to chew.

1 comment:

Stephanie in Victoria said...

If the polls show that the majority of voters favour equal marriage, but the policitians are dragging their feet, how about if some citizens started a ballot initiative (if they have those in RI) to legalize same sex marriage? If the anti-marriage folks can use those things, why not the pro-SSM people?

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