In Rhode Island, the spotlight has swung from the house to the Senate, after the former passed the marriage equality bill by an overwhelming margin. In the Senate, President Teresa Paiva Weed, who has opposed the measure, continues to vacillate, according to Towleroad.com:
“There are a number of folks in the Senate that would vote for that marriage equality bill that Sen. (Donna) Nesselbush has filed that mirrors Leader (Gordon) Fox’s legislation. There’s another group that wouldn’t vote for any marriage equality bill. There’s some folks that would support a referendum and support marriage equality. There are other folks that would support a referendum and would vote against marriage equality. And there’s another group that might support marriage equality if the religious exemption was more expansive than it was in the House.”
Meanwhile, Politifact calls bullpuckey on the National Organization for Marriage’s ad in the state, that claims that religious groups have been forced t conduct same sex ceremonies in states with marriage equality:
The National Organization for Marriage-Rhode Island said in a newspaper advertisement that “religious groups like Knights of Columbus have been forced to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their facilities, against their beliefs.” NOM made a strongly worded claim on the eve of a key vote that was meant to influence voters — and their legislators. We can’t predict what could happen under same-sex marriage laws in the future. But we can rule on claims that are so far from the truth. The judges rule Pants on Fire.
And about that house vote – turns out five lawmakers, all democrats, skipped it altogether. From the Providence Journal:
Rep. Spencer E. Dickinson, D-South Kingstown, was there that day, but said afterward that he declined to register a vote on the bill because he feels the issue of gay marriage is “so divisive” in his district. Dickinson introduced — but ultimately withdrew — a bill this year that would have made any gay marriage law passed by the General Assembly subject to voter approval.
Of the others, one was a sponsor of the bill but wasn’t in attendance, one fell ill, and two were there but didn’t vote and would not respond to the paper’s inquiries.