Yesterday, the Providence Journal reported that the state’s Catholic Bishop “lashed out” against the proposed marriage law. Instead of kowtowing to the Catholic Bishop, the Governor and Speaker of the House concisely explained why they are pushing marriage:
Chafee, who is Episcopalian, stood by his support of gay marriage, repeating an argument he made in his inauguration speech that permitting gay and lesbian couples to legally marry is, to some degree, an economic issue for the state.
“The status quo economically is not working. Our foundation here in Rhode Island was built on tolerance and acceptance, and this is an area I want to move our state forward on, by building on our strengths of centuries ago,” he said. “Let’s give marriage equality a chance to grow our state.”
Chafee senior adviser Stephen Hourahan said later that the governor believes that legalizing gay marriage can provide incentive for “the best and brightest” talents — especially gay and lesbian professionals — to consider relocating to the state for job opportunities. It can even help boost the wedding industry. “It’s the idea that to have it in place is a very positive thing to a state,” said Hourahan.
Fox also spoke out against the bishop on Friday. “This has been debated for decades, and it will be debated [again]. No one is saying just because we want it early in the session that it’s not going to get a full debate. Of course it’s going to get a full debate,” he said. “We’re familiar with the issue. It’s not being rushed. But at some point, at some time, you need to bring this to a conclusion, and I think this is the year to do it.”
Elected officials in heavily Catholic countries like Ireland, Spain and Portugal have ignored the rantings of their Bishops over same-sex marriage laws. It’s good to see that some politicians in the United States are able to do the same thing.