Atty. Gen. Patrick Lynch is wrong. He has been wrong in the past and he will, no doubt, be wrong again in the future.
His opinion on recognizing so-called gay marriages, released on Ash Wednesday, was simply wrong. The timing was wrong and the logic was wrong. The attorney general has maintained he is only concerned with righting a wrong and that it is a matter of basic civil rights. However, it is not that clear that a wrong has been committed or that it is a matter of civil rights.
Atty. Gen. Lynch has not only placed himself above the Rhode Island General Assembly and judiciary who have not legally recognized any so-called "gay marriages" performed in Massachusetts, but also the majority of the citizens in Rhode Island who consistently oppose the legal recognition of same-sex unions.
The advisory decision by the Attorney General that so-called "gay marriages" performed in Massachusetts should be recognized is a blatant intrusion into the political debate surrounding the legal recognition of same-sex unions, a debate that has been ongoing at the Rhode Island State House for the last few years as a vocal minority continues to impose the "gay agenda" upon Rhode Island.
Regardless of the motivation, it is clear that the decision by the young and brash attorney general is based upon a number of erroneous propositions. His decision suggesting that it is merely a matter of "basic civil rights" ignores the reality that homosexuals are already protected under anti-discrimination laws and domestic partner policies in our state. Rhode Island has long recognized out-of-state marriages but those marriages are between one man and one woman. There is only one state in the nation that recognizes same-sex unions as marriage; 45 states have formally declared that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Is Atty. Gen. Lynch suggesting that Rhode Islanders will now be subject to misguided social experiments from neighboring states?
In Massachusetts, it was only by an activist court decision, decided by the narrowest of margins, that same-sex unions were recognized as marriage. However, the Massachusetts legislature and general public have never voted on so-called "gay marriage" and there is an ongoing effort to have the issue determined by a statewide ballot. Therefore, it is in reality a matter that is unsettled even in Massachusetts. Suggesting that Rhode Island must recognize a law decided by a judicial fiat of an extremist court in Massachusetts is wrong. It is unfortunate that Atty. Gen. Lynch has issued such advice on Ash Wednesday, but it is even more unfortunate that his advice is bad. Whatever his motivations were in issuing the advisory decision, whether it was a quest for "basic civil right," or political posturing, he quite simply should not have subjected Rhode Island to such an ill-advised and ill-timed conclusion on such an important social issue. The time has now come for the Rhode Island General Assembly to stand up and set that record straight for Rhode Islanders, that marriage can only and will only be between one man and one woman. The "relentless gay agenda" must not be allowed to rule Rhode Island as it continues to undermine traditional marriage and family life.
We ask all Rhode Islanders to contact Senate President Joseph Montalbano, House Speaker William Murphy and their own state representative and state senator to set the record straight and protect traditional marriage now.
(This editorial originally published in The Providence Visitor)