- Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for the same reasons straight couples do – to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other.
- Marriage says “We are family” in a way no other word does. It’s as basic as the Golden Rule. Straight couples wouldn’t want someone else telling them they couldn’t marry. Why would we impose that on our gay family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers?
Why aren't civil unions enough?
- Only marriage guarantees that all couples can be there for each other in times of greatest need and be able to make emergency decisions for their loved ones.
- Civil unions just don’t work. They don’t receive the same respect and dignity as marriage.
- Civil unions create a second-class institution that is fundamentally unequal in terms of the respect, dignity, rights and benefits guaranteed by marriage.
Will marriage equality harm religious freedom?
- It is and always will be up to each church to decide whom to marry based on their beliefs – the same way that Catholic churches get to decide if Lutherans, or those from other religions, can get married in their church.
- The U.S. and Rhode Island constitutions protect, and the marriage equality bill affirms, a religious institution’s control over marriage eligibility within its particular faith’s tradition. In addition, ordained clergy and ministers authorized to officiate a civil marriage will not be obligated or required by law to officiate a particular civil marriage or religious rite of marriage.
- Rhode Island law already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations and passing marriage legislation won't change that.
- As for religiously-affiliated charities and organizations, they are free to run their organizations however they chose, as long as they don’t take taxpayer money. But if they take taxpayer money, they have to follow the law.
Why not just put this on the ballot?
- No other state legislature has added a ballot question to marriage equality legislation. The Washington and Maryland referenda to approve or repeal the state’s legislation were the result of a citizen’s initiative lead by opponents of the bill. Proponents of marriage equality in Maine used the ballot as a last resort after it was clear they had no other option to avoid the ballot.
- In Rhode Island, only constitutional amendments can go to the ballot; there is no process to achieve marriage equality statutorily through a ballot question. And we should not amend our constitution lightly.
- It’s wrong to allow a majority vote on a minority’s rights.
Will schools be forced to teach about gay marriage?
- Providing marriage equality to same-sex couples will do nothing to affect what schools can or have to teach. School curricula are determined by local school boards in accordance with state guidelines. This bill does nothing to change the authority of school boards to decide what to teach, nor does it alter the state’s guidelines on school curricula.
- Parents retain the ability and opportunity to teach their children their values and morals. The reality of gay and lesbian families only provides all parents with the opportunity to talk to their children about this increasingly relevant topic.