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Marriage Equality Just Hours Away For Minnesota And Rhode Island

Minnesota Equality
The stroke of midnight on Thursday, August 1st, will mark the beginning for marriage equality in two new states: Minnesota and Rhode Island. Now that the time is just hours away, LGBT residents, supporters, and opponents are scrambling in the last few hours to make their goals a reality. 

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the City Hall of Minneapolis will be "hosting an extravaganza at City Hall tonight where Mayor R.T. Rybak will officiate at the marriage of 42 same-sex couples." The term "extravaganza" refers not only to the marathon of same-sex marriage, but the lavish celebration afterwards that will reportedly "stretch well into Thursday morning," and include "performances by local musicians, a brass quintet and a reception at the nearby Hotel Minneapolis." Rybak staffer Andy Holmaas told MPR about how the celebration comes partially as the result of an outpouring of generosity from community members and businesses alike. "People have been bending over backwards at the slightest ask -- an unbelievable outpouring," he said. "It's not surprising, but it's still really inspiring to see Minneapolis and the whole region just jump on board to do everything they can."

Midnight ceremonies are also planned at the courthouses of Minnesota's Polk and Clay counties. St. Paul has one scheduled to take place at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Mall of America will also be hosting its first same-sex wedding celebration at the Chapel of Love at 12:01. More ceremonies are scheduled to take place across the state later on in the morning, with many couples opting to say their vows with the added pleasure of daylight. 

As was noted by MPR, Minnesota's ultimate embrace of marriage equality comes riding the tide of a rapid shift in public opinion. Not only did the state ban same-sex unions at one point, but one prior attempt to repeal the ban died when the measure was sent to voters for approval:

"After a divisive campaign that spurred many...to activism, Minnesota voters rejected the measure in November 2012 and gave the DFL control of both houses of the Legislature as well as the governor's office. Earlier this year, lawmakers approved legalizing same-sex marriage, and Gov. Mark Dayton signed the measure into law on May 14."

Rhode Island EqualityMeanwhile, in Rhode Island, city and town clerks have already been preparing to issue licenses, and have also fielded a high volume of calls from couples who were either interested in marriage licenses, or simply unsure as to the legal situation regarding their own union. The Providence Journal reports that:

"Providence and Pawtucket appeared to be the busiest as the Aug. 1 date approaches, with at least 7 couples taking advantage of a pre-registration period in Providence and more than 10 people calling with questions in Pawtucket. The questions have dealt with everything from what’s needed to get a marriage license to what a couple with a civil union has to do to marry to whether a couple that married elsewhere can marry here in Rhode Island."

Thanks to the new law, those wishing to apply for a license and get married, be they from inside or out of the state, will be able to do so. Those wishing to go from a civil union to a legal marriage have two options. They can either opt to have another ceremony declaring themselves legally married, or they can have their existing civil union license "merged" into a marriage license, eliminating the need for a ceremony. 

One of the first same-sex marriages in Rhode Island will take place in Providence, where State Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick, will wed husband Tony Caparco once again. The two were married in Vancouver in 2006, but opted to have another ceremony to celebrate their legislative victory. Their ceremony will be officiated by House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, who championed the state's new same-sex marriage legislation.

Same-sex marriage ceremonies in Rhode Island will begin tomorrow in spite of a legal challenge that was filed yesterday in a Providence Superior Court. The challenge comes via Ronald L’Heureux, a cofounder of the Faith Alliance to Preserve the Sanctity of Marriage as Defined by God. L'Heureux brought with him a petition and complaint in an attempt to obtain a restraining order and stop the marriages. Luckily, Judge Daniel A. Procaccini promptly denied the request, and instead opted to schedule a hearing for August 9th. When asked exactly why he wished to obtain a temporary restraining order against all of the state's same-sex couples, the L'Heureux, who chose to represent himself, argued that same-sex couples would be violating the religious liberties of himself and others by having their unions recognized in the public sphere. “It violates the Constitution and causes irreparable harm, and once it passes they’re going to teach my children and grandchildren conduct that’s reprehensible to my faith,” he said in court.

Towleroad wishes to congratulate those couples who will be tying the knot tomorrow in the two states. 13 down...37 to go.


Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee Switches from Independent to Democrat

ChafeeRhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has joined the Democratic Party, Politico reports:

Chafee quietly informed President Barack Obama of his intention to affiliate as a Democrat after reaching that decision in private, Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said. The governor’s office confirmed Chafee’s plans after POLITICO reported that the governor had notified national Democrats that he’d be joining the party.

A former Republican who served with Obama in the Senate, Chafee has struggled with perilously low job approval ratings and faces a difficult reelection fight in 2014.


FOX News Has Devoted One Minute of Coverage to Gay Marriage Victories in RI, DE, and MN Combined

Coverage
Media Matters has posted a report on coverage from the cable news of the recent marriage equality victories in Minnesota, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

The report reveals this nugget: FOX News devoted exactly 16 seconds of coverage over the past couple of weeks to marriage equality in Rhode Island, 44 seconds to marriage equality in Minnesota, and 0 seconds to marriage equality in Delaware.

"According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox News mentioned the marriage equality victories in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota a total of three times. CNN and MSNBC made 13 and 35 mentions of the stories, respectively."


Archbishops Call Gay Marriage a 'Serious Injustice', Warn Catholics Against Attending Same-Sex Weddings

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, published a response on Friday to Rhode Island's passage of marriage equality last week calling it "a serious injustice" and claiming that laws meaning nothing when it comes down to the union's meaning:

Cordileone"The meaning of marriage cannot be redefined, because its meaning lies in our very nature. Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman – by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise. Marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any child conceived of their union. While those making great sacrifices to raise their children in less than ideal circumstances need and deserve our love and support, we cannot claim to have a just society if we do not look out for the most vulnerable among us: children. That means preserving in the law the principle that every child deserves a mother and father united in marriage. That means supporting in our institutions and in our culture the true and unique meaning of marriage."

TobinThe letter follows one from Rhode Island Archbishop Thomas Tobin, who told Catholics to think twice before attending same-sex weddings:

Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)

At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.


R.I. Governor Lincoln Chafee on His State and the Federal March to Marriage Equality: VIDEO

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Shortly after signing Rhode Island's marriage equality bill into law, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss his state's vote and the federal march toward marriage equality. Melissa Harris-Perry was filling in for Rachel.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "R.I. Governor Lincoln Chafee on His State and the Federal March to Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


Rhode Island Becomes 10th State to Pass Marriage Equality: VIDEOS

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Highlights of today's final vote and signing of Rhode Island's marriage equality bill from the Providence Journal and WPRI, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rhode Island Becomes 10th State to Pass Marriage Equality: VIDEOS" »


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