Bittersweet Valentine's Day

Marriage Equality RI and MERI's new blog are reporting that the wintry mix won't affect plans for today's 4:30 pm Valentine's Day rally at the State House.

Unfortunately, for same-sex couples seeking full marriage rights, legislation in support of this seems unlikely to make it far in the General Assembly this year, mostly because of the socially conservative inclination of the legislature.

Peter Ian Asen will have a report in tomorrow's Phoenix on a related concern -- how new legislation in support of civil unions (House Bill 5356, introduced last week by Representative Paul Crowley of Newport) could prevent the eventual granting of full marriage rights for gays and lesbians. (Disclosure: Asen's employer, Ocean State Action, is MERI's fiscal agent.)

Crowley tells Asen that he modeled the legislation on a civil unions bill in Vermont, and that the bill "wasn't put in there with any sense of subterfuge on my part."

However, the bill's definition of marriage, as "the legally recognized union of one man and one woman," has attracted the opposition of MERI, which belives, quite reasonably, that it could undermine the fight for gay marriage in Rhode Island.

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