Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

Tonight: Gay marriage bill -- plus an outrageous pro-gay Constitutional Amendment -- before Rhode Island legislature!

State House public hearing will determine future

POSTED: March 21, 2013

NOTE: Report coming up on the testimony, etc., that evening. Committee will vote within several days.

It's on the line tonight (Thursday) in Rhode Island. Both pro-family (including MassResistance!) and anti-family advocates will be there in force.

The fate of "gay marriage" in Rhode Island will likely rest on the outcome of this public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Committee will hear testimony for the "gay marriage" Bill S38 (identical to H5015), which has already passed the House and would likely pass the full Senate if it gets there. After nearly two months of stalling in the Senate it is moving again and anything can happen.

The Rhode Island State House will be ground zero tonight!

But the Committee will also hear testimony on a shocking new bill that was filed just last week: a Constitutional Amendment to be voted on by the people that would write "gay marriage" into the Rhode Island Constitution, something which has never happened anywhere!

"Gay marriage" bill could be stopped here

Right now the biggest issue is Bill S38 which would impose "gay marriage" on Rhode Island by legislative vote, but could be stopped by a "no" vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The general feeling right now is that it's very close and could go either way. Last week MassResistance spoke with Sen. Frank Lombardi (D-Cranston), one of the committee members. Sen. Lombardi, who supports traditional marriage, predicted the vote of the 10-member committee would be a tie -- meaning the bill dies. But he acknowledged that it's is only his best speculation. That's why this hearing is so important!

Outrageous pro-gay constitutional amendment

Last Wednesday, five senators suddenly filed an outrageous bill for a Constitutional Amendment, to be voted on by the people, that would write "gay marriage" into the Rhode Island Constitution. Filed as Bill S708, it officially defines marriage as "the legally-recognized union of two (2) people." Such a constitutional amendment would be a first for any state or any country that we know of.

Crafted to placate possible foes. The proposed amendment also contains a number of rather tortured exceptions which were obviously crafted to placate certain constituencies. These exemptions and indemnities fall into four categories:

(1), Any church, religious organization, or clergyman is exempted from performing same-sex "marriages." The amendment cites First Amendment religious rights.

(2) Religious organizations, including fraternal organizations and associated non-profits, do not have to provide goods, services, or accommodations to same-sex marriage ceremonies or their associated functions.

(3) So-called "fraternal benefit societies" do not have to admit people as members, or provide benefits to them, if that would violate the society's religious belief.

(4) A "small business" (i.e., "which has five or less employees") does not have to provide goods, services, or accommodations to same-sex marriages or their associated functions.

Sen. Lombardi acknowledged that these provisions were put in largely to placate the Knights of Columbus. But it is also clearly is aimed at the larger religious community which has been opposing the bill, and also small business owners who have been claiming that under "gay marriage" they will be liable for prosecution unless they violate their religious beliefs. Let's hope people don't fall for this absurd ploy.

Another big problem with this approach is that it doesn't protect the public schools, other businesses, government, and the whole rest of society. Thus it begs the question, if "gay marriage" is so abhorrent that certain politically selected blocks of society should be exempted from it, why force it on everybody else? Doesn't everyone have First Amendment religious rights?

Apparently filed as a "back door" second chance for gay marriage

Sen. Lombardi believes that legislators see pushing this constitutional amendment approach as a back-door way to get this issue out from under them, in case the gay-marriage bill fails, so they can get on to other business (which they should be attending to anyway).

But there are some apparent roadblocks. Sen. Lombardi mentioned that the Governor is on record that although he favors gay marriage, he will veto any bill calling for a "vote of the people" on it. He's said that it should be passed by the legislature instead. Does he really mean that? No one's quite sure.

From our standpoint, the proposed amendment is a sloppy and cowardly approach to dealing with this horrible issue that will surely affect people for generations to come. We have a feeling that the amendment could make it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, its first stop, though it could run into trouble later because of its absurd contortions. But right now, the big battle is killing the gay marriage bill and not letting it through to the Senate floor, where it would likely be passed. And the homosexual movement is also focused on that bill right now, too.

The main hearing room during the House hearing on the "gay marriage" bill in January.

Pro-family citizens to be there in force

There is no question that the homosexual movement will be converging on this hearing. They will have their usual cast of activists, panels of "citizens," teachers, union officials, "expert witnesses" and more.

But pro-family citizens from across the state are expected to be there in force, too, even moreso than at the January public hearing in the House. In particular, the Faith Alliance of Rhode Island, a statewide coalition of over 100 religious organizations organized by the Rhode Island Hispanic Ministers Association and several African American pastors, has been planning for this hearing for quite a while.

Plus MassResistance . . .

Brian Camenker of MassResistance will be testifying and will distribute copies of "What same-sex 'marriage' has done to Massachusetts" to members of the committee.

Along with Camenker will be David Parker, one of the more powerful speakers coming to Rhode Island this evening. David and his wife Tonia made national news a few years ago when their son in Kindergarten and his classmates were given books about "gay" families without the parents' knowledge or consent. Furthermore, the school refused to allow parents to "opt-out" their children from these lessons. The Parkers filed a federal Civil Rights lawsuit against the school. But a federal judge in Boston ruled against them, saying that because of "gay marriage" in Massachusetts, the schools were obligated to teach about homosexual relationships and the parents had no right to interfere with that. This is very disturbing and the lawmakers will hear about it!

VIDEO about the Parkers' saga.

The hearing will likely last well into the night. It's not clear whether the Committee will take their vote at that time not. We will let you know what happens.