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Rhode Island Legislature votes for "gay marriage" after two "pro-family" Senators cave during Judiciary Committee vote.

POSTED: April 25, 2013

This was so close to being stopped . . . then,

On Tuesday, after weeks of pressure, two key "pro-family" Rhode Island State Senators caved in to the homosexual lobby and switched their votes, causing the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass the "gay marriage" bill by a 7-4 vote, and send it to the full Senate. If those two Senators had held firm, the Committee vote would have been 6-5 against, and the "gay marriage" bill would have died.

Men of infamy: Rhode Island State Senators William Conley (left) and Leonidas Reptakis. Their capitulation caused "gay marriage" to be imposed on the state.

Wednesday it passed the full Senate by 26 to 12. The Governor has said he will sign it. Opposition to the bill came exclusively from Democrats. All five Senate Republicans supported the "gay marriage" bill.

Senate Judiciary Committee was seen as the barrier to passage

Back in January the "gay marriage" bill had easily passed the in the House with great fanfare. But it was widely known that the Senate Judiciary Committee had a fairly solid one-vote margin in favor of traditional marriage, and it would likely be killed there. In addition, the Judiciary Committee Chairman and the Senate President both publicly supported traditional marriage.

Two turncoat "pro-family" Senators

The two Senators, Sen. William Conley (D-East Providence) and Sen. Leonidas Reptakis (D-Coventry), are both known for their pro-family religious beliefs. Conley is a strong Catholic. Reptakis is a member of a solid Greek Orthodox Church. In both local churches, the priest is a vocal supporter of traditional marriage. Their support seemed to be solid.

But they were successfully targeted over the last several weeks with unrelenting pressure from the statewide homosexual lobby, teamed up with homosexual activists in their districts. In both cases, they caved despite last-minute pleas from their churches and priests. According to one major pro-family activist, just days ago their priests had said that Conley and Reptakis were solidly on our side.

It was shocking to pro-family activists. Back in January, Reptakis had told a local newspaper: "I believe in a traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That's my personal opinion." Conley was also considered a man of principle. But last month Reptakis told the press that he'd been getting 30 to 40 phone calls every day on the issue. It was the beginning of the end.

Decision by pro-family Senate leadership not to interfere

The Committee Chairman, Sen. Michael McCaffrey, had plenty of incentive to do what he could to stop "gay marriage" from seeing the light of day in his committee. Last year, homosexual activists ran a candidate against him. He still won, but according to reports, he had to raise $60,000 to do it.

Senate President Paiva Weed supports traditional marriage, but agreed that no attempt would be made to subvert the will of the others on holding a vote, even though she could also have easily bottled up the bill. This a change from two years ago. Weed did help stop the previous "gay marriage" bill in 2011, but as a consolation supported the bill for homosexual civil unions that passed in Rhode Island later that year (though that bil was opposed by pro-family groups including MassResistance).

Bungled legislative strategy

For some inexplicable reason, neither McCaffrey nor the Senate President decided to force a Committee vote immediately or soon after the March 21 public hearing, but instead let it linger for weeks until the homosexual movement was able to successfully pressure the two Senators. Had the vote been taken right away, it would most likely have gone our way. One insider told us that it was just a tactical error, given everything else going on.

The night before Tuesday's Judiciary Committee vote, homosexual activists were already celebrating. They knew the vote was going their way, and gathered in a local Episcopal church, according to reports. But just to be sure, the activists packed the Committee room during the formal vote for an extra dose of intimidation should any of the politicians have second thoughts.

Homosexual activists filled the hearing room for the Judiciary Committee vote on Wednesday.
[Photo: Providence Journal]

Constitutional amendment rejected by Committee

At the same meeting on Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee also rejected the alternative "gay marriage" bill, a State Constitutional Amendment writing "gay marriage" into the Constitution (which would have also required a statewide vote in order to pass). This bill was not popular with the homosexual lobby but had been endorsed as a so-called "compromise" by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and several Senators. (We don't know why they would support that bill, unless it was to buy more time.)

Strong message from Archdiocese unheeded

The day before the Committee vote, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence sent out the following statement to the (largely Catholic) legislature:

"As the Rhode Island Senate prepares to take action on legislation that would seek to legitimize 'same-sex marriage,' I once again urge members of the Senate to stand strong in resisting this immoral and unnecessary proposition and to defend marriage and family as traditionally defined. We should be very clear about this: it is only with grave risk to our spiritual well-being and the common good of our society that we dare to redefine what God himself has created. My prayer is that the senators will have all the wisdom and courage they need to do the right thing in this moment of decision."

Bishop Tobin