Rhode Island Governor-Elect Chafee Snubs NOM, Reiterates His Commitment to Marriage Equality

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is whining because Rhode Island Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee won't entertain supporting a 2012 voter referendum on same-sex marriage and has reiterated his commitment to equality.

Chafee The Providence Journal reports that Christopher Plante, the head of NOM's Rhode Island chapter, paid a visit to Chafee's office:

Plante said he dropped by Chafee’s transition office unannounced about two weeks ago, and came away from his conversation with aide Michael Trainor believing that the governor-elect was open to sitting down and talking with people on all sides of the gay-marriage debate.

Hence his “surprise” when he received a letter from Trainor, reaffirming the position that Chafee stated repeatedly through his campaign for governor over the last year. It said: “The governor elect feels that the issue should be addressed as soon as possible by the General Assembly, and does not believe that the question should be decided by a ballot referendum.”

In his Nov. 16 letter to Plante, Trainor also reiterated Chafee’s belief that: “Marriage equality is a basic right that should be extended to all Rhode Islanders — a question not only of fairness and justice, but of economic development as well.”

“I was surprised,” said Plante on Tuesday, “because Mr. Trainor indicated that he thought that Governor-elect Chafee would sit down at the table with all parties … I left there thinking that maybe we’ll get a roundtable. We’ll get ‘Marriage Equality’ … We’ll get NOMRI to sit at the table and talk about how we are going to go forward on this … But what he has done is rejected our position out of hand.”

Plante is clearly exasperated. The ProJo asked him why he thought Chafee would change his mind.

"What insanity got into my mind? That I have real and credible polling data that shows that 80 percent of Rhode Islanders want it on the ballot … And he was elected with — what? — 36 percent of the vote, fewer popular votes than (unsuccessful independent lieutenant governor candidate) Bob Healey got."

No doubt NOM will soon be pouring more millions of dollars toward the Rhode Island referendum.

And why hasn't NOM been classified as a hate group already?


  1. BlueFreak says

    The good news is that (I believe) the way a public question makes it onto the ballot in RI is through the approval of the state legislator; there is no such thing in RI as referendum via petition.

    And as a Mass. resident who lives minutes from the RI border, I’ll be glad when RI joins the rest of New England (with the notable exception of Maine) in recognizing my marriage.

  2. Rich says

    And where did they get their “real and credible polling data” from? Did they troll outside conservative churches on a month of Sundays?

    NOM represents blind, irrational ignorance and hatred, there is no reasoning with them.

  3. says

    NOM is pissed off because they had Carcierri (Outgoing gov) in their pocket, and Chaffee is not playing that game.

    Go, Linc!

    I have to agree; it’s time that groups like NOM are listed as a hate group. How many signatures would be needed to get the state to acknowledge that? Hmmm

  4. John says

    If NOM thinks they can threaten the only Republican senator who voted against Bush’s war and tax cuts, they are pretty much delusional. Lincoln Chafee has never responded well to that sort of pressure.

    As for their polling data, I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand for a very simple reason:

    Do not believe for a second that Americans, in any state, are quote “better than that.” Support for civil rights is always high when it is an intangible theory. Once you get closer to a vote on an actual proposal, however, public support always wavers. Remember when support for DADT repeal plummeted twenty percentage points the night before the House voted on it? Or when Prop. 8 polling in California went from sixty percent against to a dead heat in a matter of days?

    These aren’t strange anomalies, folks.

    It is just good old fear and ignorance working their magic on the American voter.

  5. Rightthingtodo TX says

    “What insanity got into my mind? That I have real and credible polling data that shows that 80 percent of Rhode Islanders want it on the ballot … And he was elected with — what? — 36 percent of the vote, fewer popular votes than (unsuccessful independent lieutenant governor candidate) Bob Healey got.”

    i’ll be happy to answer the question. the insanity that all of america should be equal except for one cross-section of the population. the insanity that society is going to die if marriage equality is a reality. the insanity that a citizen’s rights to govt benefits should not be up for vote. it’s been speculated on other blogs that the irrational fear/hate/nom/rev jackson/mccain/mccance flavor of insanity should be classified as a disease or disorder as other insanity.

  6. says

    We are not proposing to make same sex marriage compulsory, you complete fucking NOM idiot.

    So fuck off and mind your own business and stop sticking your self righteousness where it’s not wanted.
    Signed :

  7. jonny says

    I was happy to hear that Chaffee was in the running, then elected. As one of the other commenters said, he does have a pretty good record on follow-through.
    Also, I think NOM have recently shot themselves in the foot (next time aim higher) by publicly attacking civil union bills in Illinois (I think). Not very long ago, Maggie G. had said that NOM was kind of for civil unions; it was the marriage part that upset them – I didn’t believe it, but many people were soothed by that pronouncement. Now, they are fully out there fighting any kind of legal partnering for gay people, so I think more and more state representatives will be distancing themselves from that group.

  8. Jon says

    If you read the entire Projo article, they quote the entirely biased phrasing of the questions in the “polling” that Plante cites, and disclose that the polling was commissioned by NOM.

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