A new poll released today shows that Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support marriage equality with almost 60 percent of the state in favor of same sex marriage.
“…voters in the state strongly support legalizing gay marriage- 57% support it to 36% who are opposed,” according to a summary of the poll results. “When we polled the state on this issue in February 2011 there was 50/41 support for it, and the 12 point increase in the margin in favor of same sex marriage reflects the national movement on this issue over the last few years.”
Said Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, of the positive new poll numbers:
“The poll released today by Public Policy Polling finding 57 percent of Rhode Islanders want to extend the unique protection and recognition of marriage to all Ocean State families mirrors the strong support our grassroots campaign has been hearing for months now. Support for marriage equality is strong and growing every day, as we tell the stories of our friends and neighbors who are unfairly unable to access the rights and benefits marriage bestows. Our broad coalition of organizations supporting equality looks forward to continuing to tell those stories and fight for all Rhode Island families.”
However … the other news of the day on marriage equality is that the conservative scare tactic is true: Rhode Island’s marriage laws are affecting some religion’s ability to practice how they want to. It’s just true in the opposite way they want you to believe it’s true. Rev. Don Anderson, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches explains.
“While there is broad diversity within communities of faith on this issue, many traditions choose to welcome same-sex relationships to the covenant of marriage,” he said in a statement released today. “Under current law, those open and affirming traditions are unable to do so in Rhode Island. While No church or clergy would be required by this law to contradict the teachings of their particular faith, the State Council of Churches believes those congregations who wish to perform same-sex marriages should be able to do so. We believe this is an issue of tolerance and religious liberty.”
The state Council of Churches implored the General Assembly to get on board with the rest of the state and support same sex marriage. The House passed the bill last week (watch the video here) and Gov Chafee is eager to sign it into law. Public opinion polls show Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support marriage equality. And the Providence Journal reported yesterday that even the socially conservative state Senate would be a close vote. Meaning, the fate of marriage equality in Rhode Island rests squarely on the shoulders of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.
Supporters are hoping she will be swayed by the more than 300 churches represented by the state Council who feel that is “an issue social justice, civil rights and conscience,” according to the press release.
“Their endorsement is an important recognition that many Rhode Island faith traditions welcome and affirm same-sex marriages,” said Sullivan.