Rhoda Perry: McCaffrey is ‘hurtful, inaccurate’ on gay marriageAugust 17th, 2012 at 12:57 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
During a debate Friday on WPRI 12′s Newsmakers, McCaffrey was asked why his committee has never voted on the issue. He replied: “The same-sex marriage bill has been heard by the Senate Judiciary numerous times, and Senator Perry – I assume – has done a headcount of the committee, has done a headcount of the Senate, and said: ‘I may not have the votes for this.’”
Moderator Tim White then asked McCaffrey, who’s chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee since 2003: “Why not bring it up for an up-or-down vote and find out?” He replied: “That, I have no problem – my position is I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Within two hours, Perry issued a statement through the pro-legalization group Marriage Equality Rhode Island criticizing McCaffrey, a Warwick Democrat (and potential successor to Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed) who differs on the issue from his primary challenger Laura Pisaturo.
“I understand it’s an election year, but for Sen. McCaffrey to suggest that I stood in the way of a vote on marriage equality is not correct,” Perry, D-Providence, told WPRI.com. She was the prime sponsor of same-sex marriage legislation for nearly 10 years and is retiring this year.
“I’ve known Michael for a long time and consider him a friend,” Perry said. “But the real facts are that I’ve spent my career fighting to protect and advance the civil rights of all Rhode Islanders. For him to state that I would intentionally block a vote on this watershed issue is both hurtful and inaccurate.”
Perry added that she’s “disappointed” McCaffrey doesn’t support legalizing same-sex marriage but thinks the Senate will have enough votes to pass it next year. Earlier this year, House Speaker Gordon Fox said on Newsmakers he will hold a roll-call vote in his chamber next year on legalizing same-sex marriage.
• Related: Is the Rhode Island Senate warming up to same-sex marriage? (May 10)