RI shifts from same-sex marriage to civil unions
Top lawmakers in Rhode Island are shifting their focus from same-sex marriage to civil unions, a move that some Maryland moderates would like to see here.
The Speaker of the House in RI, who is gay, said today that his bill to extend full marriage rights to gay couples was "dead" this year and he would push for the lesser civil unions bill.
Freedom to Marry, a national group pushing for gay marriage, sent out a statement calling the decision in Rhode Island "a serious miscalculation."
But full marriage isn't getting much traction this year. Maryland, New York and Rhode Island were the three states with the greatest chance of passing full marriage bills this year. Of them, NY was viewed at the toughest sell but is the only where same-sex marriage is still a possibility.
In Maryland an effort to turn the same-sex marriage legislation into a civil unions bill failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gay rights advocates dislike the idea because they say it creates a separate an unequal version of marriage.
Nevertheless during the House and Senate debates, a number of Maryland lawmakers said they'd prefer civil unions to marriage.