RHODE ISLAND: Activists Demand Governor Veto Civil Unions Bill
Saying that Rhode Island's proposed civil unions bill will "allow religious organizations and their individual employees to completely disregard the validity of a civil union in any context," major LGBT activist groups are asking Gov. Lincoln Chafee to veto the act should it come to his desk. Via press release:
"This flawed civil union bill undermines a crucial principle that Rhode Island has always stood for -- respecting the separation of church and state,” said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry. “Not only does the bill propose a separate-and-unequal status instead of ending the denial of marriage itself, it grants an unprecedented license to discriminate against same-sex couples and their families. Governor Chafee should veto this defective bill and work with the legislature to enact a marriage bill that ends discrimination while preserving religious and personal freedom on equal terms for all.”
The letter, which was signed by groups including Freedom to Marry and GLAD, reads: This amendment could allow individuals, who are legally required to recognize everyone else’s legal commitments, to opt out of doing so only for gay and lesbian people. In practical terms, this law could allow religiously affiliated hospitals to deny a civil union spouse’s right to be by his spouse’s side and make medical decisions for him, and could allow religiously affiliated agencies to deny an employee’s right to leave in order to care for his civil union spouse under Rhode Island Family and Medical Leave.