Watson: Civil unions, not gay marriage, could passApril 15th, 2011 at 11:08 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
“I support that as an alternative that I believe has enough support in the General Assembly to pass and become law this year,” Watson said Friday morning during a taping of WPRI 12′s “Newsmakers.”
The East Greenwich Republican defended his opposition to gay marriage, brushing aside arguments about civil rights while citing the importance of maintaining the traditional definition of the word “marriage.”
“I happen to believe in the power of the word ‘marriage,’ and I believe it has a historical connection, and I believe that currently our current political environment is such that I think the public would be more supportive of civil unions, and I support that, as well,” Watson said.
Watson also discussed a sharp exchange he had on the House floor earlier this week with Speaker Gordon Fox – a riveting video of which will air as part of the “Newsmakers” episode – after the GOP leader called for a quick vote on gay marriage so attention could shift to the budget; the speaker had his microphone turned off.
“I don’t like it when they turn my microphone off, and I also don’t like it when we keep secrets in that building,” Watson said of the Statehouse. “There’s no reason why we can’t discuss the travel and the tracking of the gay marriage bill. It is a distracting issue. It’s been a preoccupation throughout the course of the session, and I just hoped and expected when we came back off of April vacation we would be focused on the budget exclusively.”
Watson also discussed whether lawmakers are still likely to increase sales tax revenue; the prospects for further pension changes; how the budget could be balanced exclusively with social-service spending cuts; and the need for more oversight of legislative staff pay.
I jumped in for the second half of the show to discuss pensions and my Chafee interview with Tim White, Ian Donnis and Arlene Violet. The full episode will be posted online today and air at 10 a.m. Sunday on Fox Providence.