.- Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence is warning that the âfrenetic rushâ to recognize âgay marriageâ in Rhode Island is morally wrong and that Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other state leaders are pushing the legislation without adequate debate.
On Jan. 6, State Rep. Arthur Handy, a Democrat from Cranston, introduced his annual bill to recognize same-sex âmarriageâ in the state. Twenty-nine lawmakers co-signed the bill, including the openly homosexual House Speaker Gordon D. Fox.
Sen. Rhoda Perry, a Democrat from Providence, introduced similar legislation in the state Senate.
The legislation has strong support in the House but has poorer chances in the Senate, the Providence Journal reports. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed opposes the proposal.
The bill has been introduced eight times in recent years but has never been put to a vote even in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Gov. Chafee, a former Republican who is now unaffiliated, supports same-sex âmarriage.â
The proposal to redefine marriage is âan enormous decision with profound consequences,â Bishop Tobin said on Jan. 7.
He added that it was âparticularly disturbingâ that Gov. Chafee contradicted his stated desire for unity by adopting âa very divisive agenda item as one of his first priorities.â
âHis proposal violates the sincere conscience of many of our citizens and inflames passions on both sides of the issue,â Bishop Tobin said.
The bishop reaffirmed Catholicsâ respect for individuals with a homosexual orientation as âchildren of God and our brothers and sisters.â
However, he said Rhode Islanders must have the opportunity to vote on an issue âso basic to the social fabric of our community and the well-being of our families, especially our children.â
Rather than recognize âgay marriage,â he suggested, state leaders should work on job creation and economic improvement.
âThe frenetic rush to legalize the marriage of homosexuals will accomplish none of the above,â he remarked.