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Benefit tonight, protest tomorrow for Marriage Equality RI

081114_edit_main

Marriage Equality RI has a benefit tonight . . .

Cranston - Although the Ocean State is now officially the "Island of Inequality" when it comes to equal marriage rights for its gay and lesbian citizens, hope abounds.  On Friday November 14 at the RISD Auditorium in Providence, Rhode Island, the Marriage Equality Rhode Island Education Fund (MERIEF) will host a celebration of the recent landmark decision in Connecticut allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry with a special meet and greet reception and the Rhode Island premiere of the newly released documentary, Saving Marriage.   (www.savingmarriagethemovie.com)   

On October 10, the day of the CT Supreme Court decision, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) attorney Bennett Klein remarked, "Today's victory fulfills the hopes and dreams of gay and lesbian families... Marriage is unparalleled in the dignity, respect and protection it gives families."  Connecticut is the second state in New England-and the third in the United States-to swing open the doors to true equality for lesbian and gay couples.

But the stage for success in CT was set in Massachusetts three years ago.   In 2005, a one-vote margin paved the way for marriage equality in MA and the beginning of this civil rights battleground for gay and lesbian couples nationwide.  The documentary about the Massachusetts struggle, Saving Marriage by here! Films/Regent Releasing, is a polished, behind-the-scenes look that tracks the two-year drama as it unfolded.  Career politicians, seasoned lobbyists and ordinary people in MA were spurred to action and are featured as the film's storytellers.  The directors for Saving Marriage, a lawyer and veteran television cameraman, took breaks from their West Coast careers and began filming the historic happenings in Boston to create a permanent record of this key time in the gay rights movement. 

A protest tomorrow . . .

Join hundreds of your closest friends and show up at the Prop 8 protest rally on Saturday, 11/15, 1:30p at the STATE HOUSE south lawn (near the Providence Place mall.)  We'll have music, the chance to speak, limited sign-making ability --  feel free to bring your own!  If it's raining, DON'T STAY HOME -- bring an umbrella.   THIS EVENT ISRAIN OR SHINE.

Meanwhile, there's a related editorial in this week's Boston Phoenix:

Thanks to these holy rollers, California enjoys the dubious distinction of rescinding a set of rights for the first time in American history. And make no mistake, marriage is a bundle of rights that encompasses more than a formalized recognition of love and affection. Marriage rights extend to a host of issues that include property, a couple’s mutual well-being, inheritances, and, in case of critical illness, perhaps even life or death.

(In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the federal Defense of Marriage Act, assuring that same-sex couples would remain ineligible for spousal benefits under Social Security, Medicare, or any other federal benefit program reserved for married couples, irrespective of individual states’ allowing gay marriage. In order to assure those rights nationally for same-sex couples, that law would still need to be taken off the books or overturned by the Supreme Court.)

As bad as the situation is in California, there is more than a glimmer of hope. (It is ironic to use Obama’s favorite word in this context, for the president-elect favors only civil unions, not full marriage rights.)

A host of groups are preparing to argue in the California courts that Proposition 8 — the name of the measure that rolled back same-sex marriage rights — is itself unlawful, since proposals that would significantly change the constitution must be approved by the state legislature before they can be put to a statewide vote.

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