BREAKING: Marriage Equality Fight Is Alive in Rhode Island
May 4, 2011 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
The following post is from HRC Field Organizer Trevor Chandler:
Hundreds of marriage equality supporters wearing red turned out yesterday at the Rhode Island state house to send a clear message to the Senate and House leadership: Rhode Islanders want full marriage equality and nothing less. After recent news where Speaker Gordon Fox decided against pursuing a full marriage equality bill for civil unions legislation both the Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality Rhode Island reiterated their unequivocal support for full marriage rights and not a separate but equal institution that would codify discrimination in Rhode Island's laws. However, simply because the marriage equality bill has been shelved does not mean the debate is done.
Revealed yesterday at the demonstration was that marriage equality advocates would be pursuing a strategy to amend the civil union legislation in in a way that would grant full marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. Thanks to Rep. Arthur Handy and Sen. Josh Miller, who are the sponsors, this will allow us to work to get it out of the state house and have an up or down vote that will allow every elected to have their voice heard and for every constituent to listen and decide if they agree.
It was a stunning and emotional event yesterday with speakers like Annie-Cronin-Silva & Melanie Silva who have been together for 10 years yet would still be treated as second class citizens under the civil unions bill.
Annie summed up the sentiments of those attending well when she said, "Civil unions create a separate class for gay and lesbian people, and separate is never equal."
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