January 24th, 2013 at 11:05 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Rhode Island’s House of Representatives will gather at 4 p.m. for a historic vote to legalize same-sex marriage. It will almost certainly mark the first time either chamber of the General Assembly backs the idea. (WPRI will stream the debate live online.)
While there’s no doubt the issue remains controversial, polling suggests House lawmakers will be acting in line with public opinion if it approves gay marriage today.
Last September, a WPRI 12 poll showed same-sex marriage enjoys significant support among Rhode Islanders, with 56% of voters in favor of legalization, 36% opposed and 8% unsure.
Support for same-sex marriage is fairly broad among different types of voters, with one exception: Republicans. Rhode Island GOP voters are the only group that has a majority against legalization, with 59% opposed (and 40% strongly opposed). Voters ages 60 and older are closely split, with 49% of seniors in favor and 43% opposed.
November 3rd, 2012 at 5:38 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
House Speaker Gordon Fox pledged on Saturday that the R.I. House of Representatives will vote before the end of January on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.
Fox, a Providence Democrat who’s in the toughest re-election fight of his 20-year career, added specificity to the pledge he made in an interview on WPRI 12′s Newsmakers earlier this year, when he announced he would call a vote in the House on gay marriage during the 2013 session if he got re-elected.
Fox, who is openly gay, told a small crowd of supporters at the restaurant Blaze on Providence’s East Side that he would call a vote “during the third or fourth week of January.” The speaker opted not to call a vote on gay marriage last year because of opposition from leading Senate Democrats including Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport.
Fox’s opponent, independent Mark Binder, has criticized the speaker for failing to call a vote, saying he “put marriage equality on the back burner because he didn’t think it would pass a Senate vote.” Binder says on his website he’s pleased Fox is now calling for a vote, but “I only wish that he’d done it years ago.”
October 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Brown University history professor Robert Self is out with a new book, “All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s,” and it sounds like it could be interesting. The conservative scholar Kay Hymowitz reviewed the book for The Wall Street Journal:
[Self] has heroically researched the history of the culture wars from the early 1960s to the present. He offers a provocative analysis that accounts for today’s alliance between small-government and social conservatives, on the one hand, and welfare-state and social liberals, on the other.
Mr. Self begins his history by describing “breadwinner liberalism” as the status quo of the early and mid-1960s. The architects of the Great Society assumed the primacy of male-earner and female-homemaker families.
By the late 1960s, male breadwinners were beset from all sides. … The traditional male-headed family was an anachronism.
But, the author concludes, breadwinning men weren’t disappearing; they and their female supporters were just changing political parties.
Self joined Brown as an assistant professor in 2004 and became an associate professor in 2006. He contributed an op-ed to NYTimes.com in August criticizing Republicans – little surprise, then, that the latter half of Hymowitz’s review says Self’s book “descends into a partisan tract” toward its later chapters.
August 17th, 2012 at 12:57 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
State Sen. Rhoda Perry isn’t pleased that her colleague Michael McCaffrey is suggesting she’s the reason his Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t taken a vote on legalizing same-sex marriage.
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.
June 29th, 2012 at 12:12 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
By Ted Nesi
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – House Speaker Gordon Fox will call a vote next year on legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, he announced Friday during a taping of WPRI 12′s Newsmakers.
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May 10th, 2012 at 12:46 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
It’s been clear for a long time that a majority of Rhode Island House Democrats (and likely a Republican or two) support legalizing same-sex marriage, and Governor Chafee has always said he’d sign such a bill into law.
That’s kept all eyes on the Rhode Island Senate – particularly Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, a devout Catholic who opposes gay marriage, and the conservative Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, a Catholic who belongs to his city’s Knights of Columbus.
There are signs the Senate’s opposition may be softening. In February, Paiva Weed and McCaffrey met with lobbyists from Marriage Equality Rhode Island at the lawmakers’ request; last year they never got a meeting at all. And at least two Senate Republicans, Dawson Hodgson of North Kingstown and Christopher Ottiano of Portsmouth, say they’d make a vote to approve gay marriage bipartisan.
Ray Sullivan, the former lawmaker who heads MERI, said there’s “no doubt” gay marriage would pass the House, which is led by openly gay Speaker Gordon Fox. “We have more support now in the General Assembly than we’ve ever had before,” Sullivan told WPRI.com. “That’s not spin. That’s the reality. People are recognizing that it’s time to take action on this issue.”