NOM Rhode Island To New England: Drop Dead


Most observers agree that marriage equality will comfortably pass through the Rhode Island House today. And while there's still the Senate to overcome, many are optimistic that's a done deal, too.

Marriage equality in Rhode Island just makes sense. Most Americans support it, the newly elected lawmakers representing Rhode Island's electorate support it, and all of the state's neighbors support it. It's a no brainer. But then we have groups like National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island. They claim that Little Rhody needs to stand with the heartland, not its New England neighbors.

From the New York Times:

The driving force against gay marriage is the National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island, an offshoot of the national group that has worked against it in several other states. It objects, among other things, to the suggestion that Rhode Island has some kind of obligation to go along with the rest of New England.

"We belong to the United States of America, not to the United States of New England," said Christopher Plante, the executive director. "Rhode Island stands with the vast majority of Americans in understanding that marriage is the union of one man and one woman." Thirty states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

I'm sure many Rhode Islanders would love to see Plante and company pack up and move to Mississippi circa 2004. Sadly that's not possible, so Plante should just go ahead and accept reality.


  1. Brian says

    Not only is Rhode Island geographically, historically, and culturally a part of New England, it also votes in lockstep with its neighbors, and gay marriage is no exception. National opinion polls have shown that 60% of Rhode Island voters support gay marriage, second only to Massachusetts. NOM Rhode Island should try to find locals who don’t support the Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots before they try and move the state to the deep south.

  2. Patric says

    I have been following this story with great interest and have been seeking, without success, articles or other information on likely vote counts in the state senate, which is as you note where the real suspense lies. Would you please provide citations/links to support your assertion that “many are optimistic that {senate passage is] a done deal, too”? I’m genuinely interested.

  3. Oliver says

    It must be tough to be on the losing side. I guess that’s why Maggie and Brian are becoming such lard asses…drowning their sorrows with Whoppers and Big Macs.

  4. ratbastard says

    Lil’ Rhody is as New England as quahogs and coffee milk…cranberry bogs, town commons and buildings where George Washington slept.

    Rhode Island is a beautiful state; Narragansett Bay, the ocean, are really pretty. Used spend time in Little Compton and on Block Island.

  5. e.c. says

    Excuse me NOM, but where is this “vast majority” of Americans who don’t support marriage rights? All the recent polling shows the nation pretty much split and at worst – for you – slightly favoring it.

  6. Patric says

    We may, and of course hopefully will, ultimately prevail in the state senate but I have not encountered anyone suggesting that that is a “done deal.”

    Sounds like a vote in the state senate is not likely for weeks, if not months.

    I looked on the website of the Rhode Island General Assembly and two of the three senators described in the above-cited December article as likely no votes – Goodwin and Walaska – are no longer members of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee. See also Instead, in addition to Harold Metts (member of the Providence Branch NAACP and the Urban League and a deacon at a Baptist Church and described above as a likely no vote), Dawson Hodgson (a 33-year old Republican described above as a likely yes vote), Erin Lynch (a 37-year old Democrat described above as a likely yes vote) and Donna Nesselbush (an openly lesbian Democrat who is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Issues Committee, Lawyers for Equality and Diversity and the American Association for Justice and described above as a likely yes vote), the committee’s other six current members appear to be the following senators:

    – the above-referenced Paul Jabour, who indicated in his fall campaign that he personally favors CUs but would be “obligated” to vote for equality if his constituents let him know “overwhelming[ly]” that they support passage – and ;

    – Stephen Archambault, a Democrat who is a former cop and current Prosecutor who supported marriage equality when an unsuccessful candidate for the Dem nomination for state AG in 2010 – and and;

    – William Conley, a Democrat who graduated from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, is very involved in his local parish, represents a heavily Catholic district and has been described as an opponent of equality but who recently said that he’s been “listening to the positions of both sides” and, as such, my be persuadable; he and Jabour are considered the two crucial swing votes needed to pass the bill out of committee – and and and and ;

    – Frank Lombardi (not to be confused with Frank Lombardo, another senator in the same chamber; this is Rhode Island!), seen as an opponent of equality – ;

    – Michael McCaffrey, the committee chair and an opponent of equality who has co-sponsored a mini-DOMA law for the state; and

    – Leonidas Raptakis, a member of a Greek Orthodox Church who is seen as an opponent though he said he’d be inclined to support a bill if it provided for a popular vote – and .

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