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January 24, 2013

NOM – Rhode Island Shows Weakness by Trumpeting DOA Constitutional Amendment

Posted in: marriage equality

Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III

Talk about too little too late. With the Rhode Island marriage bill expected to pass in the state House later this afternoon, NOM – Rhode Island has just announced that “Sen. Ciccone introduces legislation to put SSM before voters”.

The legislation is actually a resolution (S 0096) that would place an anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment on the ballot.  The measure would add the following new section to Article I of the Rhode Island Constitution:

Section 25. Marriage. – Marriage shall be recognized and defined in Rhode Island as a lawful union between one man and one woman, provided the recognition and definition of marriage shall not prohibit the recognition of a lawful civil union between two (2) members of the same gender.

The resolution is sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Providence), who proffered a similar measure in 2011 that died in committee (S 0115).

Sen. Ciccone’s proposed constitutional amendment is dead on arrival and a waste of Assembly time. To get on the ballot, the measure would have to first get approval by majorities in both houses of the Rhode Island General Assembly. That’s not going to happen. Since a majority of legislators in the House signed onto the marriage equality bill as co-sponsors, its passage in the House is all but certain. It is folly for NOM and Sen. Ciccone to suggest that legislators who just passed a marriage equality bill will turn around and vote to put an anti-equality marriage amendment on the ballot.

For folks who are able, there’s still time to get to the State House to show support for passage of the marriage equality bill in the House today. The House is scheduled to convene at 4pm. Supporters are being asked to wear red. If you can’t make it, you can follow the debate on Twitter at the hashtag #RI4M or watch WRPI’s online live stream here starting at 4 pm.

Update: The Rhode Island House passed the marriage bill Thursday night by a huge margin: 51 to 19. Find out how each representative voted here.


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