Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Psst in Providence


Word from that other New England state, the tiny one, is that Massachusetts style same-sex marriage will be on the legislative docket in Rhode Island this session.

The gay community there may be in line for the Penelope award for patience. This will be the 10th time such a bill with enter the great sausage machine of the General Assembly.

Local news claims:
Rhode Island lawmakers are holding a news conference this afternoon to announce the introduction of a bill supporting same-sex marriage.

This is the tenth straight legislative session in which legalizing same-sex marriage has been raised at the Statehouse. Representative Art Handy and Senator Rhoda Perry will announce the Marriage Equality bill at a press conference at the Statehouse. Speakers are expected to discuss the impact of marriage discrimination on Rhode Island, as well, among other topics.


Generally, a DoMA-style bill appears at the same time, sort of LOVE/HATE bookends. Marriage Equality RI says it may have the votes this time around and the Dark Side has lost support:
...our bill to legalize same-sex marriage went from having 16 total bill sponsors in 2004 to 27 sponsors in 2005. Meanwhile, "Defense of Marriage Act" sponsors (wanting to limit marriage to one man and one woman) dwindled from 10 overall to only 3 in the Senate, and no DOMA bill was introduced in the House for 2005! This indicates a definitive tipping point in the campaign, and we can only hope that the support of our legislature will continue to grow as more folks get active in the fight.
That would be a sweet turn if RI joined its northern neighbor in legal SSM. They do seem patient, very, very patient though. As a piece in the July 24, 2005, Providence Journal put its description of the SSM drive:
They say they were close in the 2005 Assembly session to having the votes to get the measure out of the House Judiciary Committee. But at best it was iffy, and, even if they succeeded there, they still lacked the votes they'd need on the House floor. So they didn't ask for a committee vote.
There can certainly be such a thing as too nice and too cautious. Then again, all worked well for Penelope when Odysseus returned.

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