Thursday, April 28, 2011

Civil Unions In Rhode Island - A Pragmatic Rather Than Idealistic View

     Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox yesterday revoked his support for a marriage equality bill in the State, in favor of a more moderate friendly Civil Unions bill. This, to the chagrin of marriage equality advocates in Rhode Island and to the rejoicing of anti-gay marriage groups like the National Organization for Marriage. In fact, I just received an email from NOM claiming that they have "won" in Rhode Island (conveniently though this email fails to note that civil unions are now being proposed, I wonder why?)

    Personally, though I do see where marriage advocates are coming from in their anger over Fox's reversal, I wish that they would think about this issue in perspective. Are civil unions separate but equal? Completely, for they are depriving LGBT people of a certain federal right. But yet, should we aim only for marriage equality when it is sure not to pass, instead of aiming for a temporary fix to the lack of equality that our relationships have?

    Even those representatives who disagree with Fox and who say that the marriage equality bill could have passed in the House, have publicly stated that the bill would never have made it out of the state Senate. On the other hand, Civil Unions enjoy wide bipartisan support in the state, and are almost guaranteed to pass by wide margins. Personally, we should be thankful that couples in Rhode Island will not have to wait any longer for state  recognition through civil unions, instead of keep them perpetually strangers to the law by having the mentality of marriage equality or nothing.

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