The Rhode Island Marriage Amendment
did not make the 2012 ballot
in the state of Rhode Island
as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment
. There were two bills, according to reports, introduced to the Rhode Island Legislature
that would have put the issue of marriage before voters. One proposal, sponsored by State Senator Frank Ciccone
, would have changed the state constitution
to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, but would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples. Another proposed ballot measure, proposed by State Senator John Tassoni
, would have amended the state constitution to say that only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized in the state.
However, a bill was introduced on January 6, 2011 that would forgo a ballot vote and would instead legalize same sex marriage in the state. The bill was proposed by State Representative Arthur Handy and State Senator Rhoda Perry. A similar bill was introduced at the Rhode Island Statehouse by State Representative Jon Brien.
- The Reverend Bernard Healey of the Catholic Diocese of Providence stated, “Our position to protect the definition of marriage is not an act of discrimination or bigotry but rather an acknowledgement of those united as husband and wife to have their marriage be a distinct relationship."
- Openly gay State Representative Frank Ferri, spoke in front of the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing about the bill, stating, "I'm here because I deserve every single right that you have. This is about equality. I don't pray to the same God that you do apparently because my God accepts me."
Path to the ballot
Section 1 of Article 14 of the Rhode Island Constitution says that the Rhode Island General Assembly can initiate the process of amendment "by a roll call vote of a majority of the members elected to each house."
On March 10, 2011 the Senate Judiciary Committee planned to hold hearings on multiple bills pertaining to same-sex marriage, including the measures that would be sent to the ballot.
- ↑ Bay Windows, "RI Senate Judiciary meeting will hear marriage equality bills", March 7, 2011
- ↑ Turn to 10, "Lawmakers reintroduce same-sex marriage bill", January 6, 2011
- ↑ Boston Globe, "RI lawmaker to submit bill on marriage referendum", February 3, 2011
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Rainbow Times Mass, "RI Senate Judiciary holds same-sex marriage hearing", March 14, 2011
- ↑ Lezgetreal.com, "Rhode Island Lawmaker Introduces Constitutional Marriage Ban Bill", February 3, 2011