Horse-trading for a vote of conscience cheapens legislative process


Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin put aside his push for the legalization of physician assisted suicide in his home state to come to Rhode Island to lecture members of the General Assembly to vote for the legalization of homosexual marriage.

Calling it a “vote of conscience” Shumlin urged legislators to pass a bill that would redefine marriage without hesitation. Apparently he had not read the news that some legislators are “horse-trading” legislation in the hopes of gaining support for the bill to redefine marriage.

Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-Narragansett) last week offered Representative Doreen Costa (R-North Kingstown) the opportunity to put her name atop a bill that would prevent child murderers from gaining early release from prison. Sadly, Rep. Tanzi’s action wasn’t the act of a friendly legislator but rather an attempt to coerce Rep. Costa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, to vote the same-sex marriage bill out of committee where it is being held for further study. In order for Rep. Costa to be a lead sponsor on an important piece of legislation she was informed by Rep. Tanzi that she would have to violate her conscience and vote in favor of same-sex marriage. The two freshman legislators hold opposing views on marriage, with Tanzi a vocal proponent of homosexual marriage and Costa a courageous and conscientious supporter of traditional marriage.

Apparently Governor Shumlin missed the memo from the advocates of same-sex marriage in Rhode Island that voting for or against the redefinition of marriage is not a “vote of conscience” but rather just another bill worthy of bartering and trading among legislators. Indeed, the so called civil right cause of our time is in reality simply another political issue being pushed by a small vocal and well-financed special interest group who are not interested in the conscience of the RI General Assembly, but rather in advancing their own radical social agenda. We commend Rep. Costa for her steadfast support of traditional marriage and for remaining true to her conscience. As for the horse-trading Rep. Tanzi, we recommend that she give Governor Shumlin a call to find out what a “vote of conscience” truly means.