In a piece published in the The Rhode Island Catholic, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence is calling for state legislators to vote against the civil unions bill that will be introduced this Tuesday. A portion of the editorial from the organization's website:
Proponents will undoubtedly argue that civil unions are no threat to the institution of marriage. All one has to do is look to the west to see that’s not the case. Last year a federal judge ruled that California’s attempt to grant civil union-like benefits to same-sex couples created a “second-class citizenship”– and he ordered same-sex marriage as the way to fix the “problem” – despite California’s state marriage amendment which supposedly protected marriage. Currently Rhode Island law has no marriage amendment and even if it did there is no guarantee that it would deter activists’ judges from issuing a ruling in imitation of the California courts.
If legislators believe that the object of providing equal benefits and protections with civil unions will settle the issue for them, they are sadly wrong. Far from settling the issue, the passage of civil union legislation only advances the drive to same-sex marriage by framing the perception of same-sex relationships as “separate but equal.” Such a course of events have taken place in recent years in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire with civil unions ultimately becoming the stepping stone to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as marriage.
The civil unions bill is seen as an unwanted compromise by some in the state including Marriage Equality Rhode Island who wants a push for full on marriage equality. The representative for the group told the Providence Journal: “So the question becomes, why is the speaker attempting to be the architect of a compromise no one wants? He made a promise at the beginning of this year that there would be a vote on marriage equality. We are [calling on] him to fulfill his promise,” Fischer said. “At the end of the day, we have full faith people will do the right thing.”