Cheers to both the Providence Journal and Fall River Herald News editorial boards, both of whom reaffirmed their support for marriage equality in Rhode Island and called for swift passage of this long-overdue equal rights legislation before it becomes part of the political horse-trading on Smith Hill in the springtime.
This is an important point. Soon enough Rhode Island will learn whether Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed’s opposition to same sex marriage runs stronger than her desire for continued political power. I don’t imagine it does. Not when you factor in that she alone will bear the biggest political crosses, if you will, if Rhode Island rejects marriage equality.
While she is certainly seeking something in return for her support – it could be something giant like control of the powerful Joint Committee on Legislative Services or something smaller like support for binding arbitration – she also risks going down in the books as the Rhode Island’s 21st century version of George Wallace, the Alabama governor, known as “the most influential loser” who fought against civil rights in the early 60’s. Such a legacy would certainly affect her ability to become a judge in the future.
There’s another point about these two editorials that’s worth noting – this one a difference in them.
The ProJo refers to House Speaker Gordon Fox as being “openly gay” while the Herald News more simply points out that Fox is gay. I think it’s prejudicial to refer to someone as being “openly” gay. There’s a great Wikipedia page on this for those who want to explore this more. For our purposes, I’ll keep it local:
Gordon Fox is no more (or less) openly gay than Ed Achorn is openly heterosexual. They are both – to my limited knowledge – in loving, long-time, committed relationships with two primary differences: one is gender and the other involves equal protection under the law.
When the media refers to gay people as being “openly” gay it implies there is still some cause to be closed about such sexual identity. There isn’t. Not here in mainstream Rhode Island there isn’t.
There are surely some hate groups, churches and other such outliers who still think it’s noteworthy that someone doesn’t hide their affection for people of the same gender. But by and large this ceased being a big deal to most people a long time ago.
We’re just waiting for the law to catch up with rest of society…