Well, there’s state number 10. New England has now become a veritable fortress of gay homosexual immorality and God mocking liberal secularism! Are you scared yet?!
Rhode Island’s state legislature has approved a bill legalising gay marriage, making it the 10th US state to back same-sex marriages. The state Senate passed the legislation in a 26-12 vote.
A similar bill passed easily in the state House in January and has the support of Governor Lincoln Chafee. Rhode Island was the last state in the New England region to allow gay marriage. Hundreds of supporters in the statehouse cheered the vote.
As far as I’m aware, Rhode Island recently created a functional civil union-equivalent to marriage for same sex couples – such that they were allowed the same (or very similar) rights and benefits as married couples without the formal label of “marriage”. They also recognize marriages performed in other states. Still, eliminating the distinction between the two and expanding the state’s definition of marriage to include members of the same sex was the final step toward full equality.
And, as with pretty much all of the other state legislation related to this issue, the church is still allowed to do whatever they feel is appropriate:
The legislation states that religious institutions may set their own rules for whom they deem eligible to marry. It also specifies that no religious leader is obligated to perform any marriage ceremony.
I know that still doesn’t sit well in the minds of some of the more conservative members of the Rhode Island Christian community who feel that this is yet another step toward the elimination of the church, but I’m fairly confident that their spiritual sensibilities will be protected and their traditions left un-sullied.
I was talking with a family member about this issue fairly recently. The conversation went about the way I expected it to: first, he voiced approval for the passing of legislation legalizing same sex marriage (in this case it was Washington), said people have the right to live their lives the way they want, and then concluded with, “just don’t rub it in my face.” Alternatively, “just let me be.”
In fairness, I’m pretty damned sure that’s all they want too. Now, after centuries of being treated as second class citizens (or worse, depending on the country), they’re living in a generation in which the Western world is finally beginning to treat them as equals, and viewing their love as equally valid and real as the love between a man and a woman. SO yes, they’re celebrating it. Given how this has no effect on heterosexual marriage, I really don’t see how his – or anyone else’s – life is going to be affected. The only possibility would be a greater chance of seeing two men or two women walking down the street with their arms around each other. This, by the way, is no more or less than what we do as straight couples all of the time.
Well, whatever his concern is, I’m not too worried about my own marriage, or whether I’ll be forced to “celebrate” homosexuality. If anything, legislation like this will give religious conservatives one fewer way to try to inflict their morality on people who don’t share their views.