With little fanfare, Governor Chafee recently signed into law a bill that legally recognizes civil unions of same-sex couples in the Ocean State. The Governor remarked that he was reluctantly signing the bill as he truly wished to sign a bill that redefined marriage and legalized homosexual marriage.
In a statement that followed the signing, the bewildered Governor strangely laid the blame for the defeat of the homosexual marriage bill he supported upon Rhode Island’s large Catholic community and elderly population.
The Civil Union bill may now be the law of the state but it had little support from Rhode Islanders and virtually not one person testified in favor of the bill as it remarkably made its way through the R.I. General Assembly. Passing overwhelming in the House of Representatives, late last week it passed by a slim margin in the state Senate. It is a sad day in Rhode Island that legislation supported by only a handful is sped through the halls of the statehouse.
The Civil Union bill was described by some elected officials as a compromise that would appease few but advance the ideology of the homosexual marriage movement. By passing the Civil Union bill all that was compromised was the sanctity of marriage and family life, the very foundation of society and culture in our great nation and state. The General Assembly turned a deaf ear to the shouts of opposition from the leaders of the homosexual marriage movement who declared the bill didn’t go far enough in redefining marriage. Also dismissed by the Assembly was the reasoned and logical opposition from leaders of many faith communities and others who argued the bill would undermine the definition of marriage between one man and one woman.
This new law not only legalizes civil unions but explicitly grants these same-sex unions the same status as marriage in the law. It also ensures any party to a civil union the same legal rights and benefits that are afforded and recognized by the law of Rhode Island to spouses. Without a doubt in the eyes of the law, the two relationships, marriage and civil union, will be the same. Only the names will be different, and if the course of events in other states offers any guide, the activists’ courts will no doubt recognize there is no difference in the law and soon mandate the term marriage for homosexual relationships.
State leaders should work for the common good of our state and work on behalf of laws and policies which support marriage as the foundation of this and every human society throughout time. The legalization of same-sex civil unions does not support marriage and family life in Rhode Island for as Bishop Tobin has stated: “The concept of civil unions is a social experiment that promotes an immoral lifestyle, is a mockery of the institution of marriage as designed by God, undermines the well-being of our families, and poses a threat to religious liberty.”
The legalization of civil unions in Rhode Island is far from a historic day in Rhode Island but rather a day of sadness and shame. The children and families of our state deserve a better and secure future sadly with this social experiment called civil unions, the elected officials of the Ocean State have failed them yet again.