Tonight the Rhode Island House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held hearings on H6081, Marriage Equality. I’ve updated this because I had time to think about the high and low points of the hearing and to find all the links to the various people. Visit the links and heap praise upon those who support us, and scorn upon those who deserve it.
The hearing started at 5:00PM and by 8:00PM we’d heard just about enough from those against the bill, and it was getting a little nauseating hearing the support.
For example, Stephen Boyce, pastor of New Life Worship Center in Smithfield was a slickly polished pastor. I did make note that most of those vociferously against the bill were people that nobody would want to fuck in the first place. And his wife Nancy Boyce was pathetic. She said that “God defined marriage as one man, one woman. That’s it. It’s defined. It’s undebatable.” Undebatable huh? Well cupcake, how about that little fact that there’s not one sect of Christianity but hundreds.
Rev. John Codega of the RC Diocese of Providence was this metrosexual looking, smooth talking idiot. I loved it when Rep. Donna Walsh asked him precisely what the 97% of straight people had to be protected from.
But the worst was Rabbi Yehoshua Laufer. Laufer said that you cannot push the boundaries of religion. Meanwhile seated to his left was a Muslim Imam, to his right a Catholic deacon. I sort of sotto vocce’d that the men on either side of him belonged to religions that pushed the boundaries.
Then of course Rep. Tim Williamson kept asking the holy-trio (The Imam, Rabbi and Deacon – there’s a joke in there somewhere, I’m just not sure where.) if God might know that person was gay. The Rabbi kept saying that yes, God was all knowing but Williamson pushed the point several times. And still the Rabbi wouldn’t capitulate.
Someone trotted out the tired arguments found in the book of Leviticus. When they started with the “man should not lie with another man as with a woman” crap, I rather loudly stated that they also shouldn’t sleep with a woman during her menstrual period. Or eat shellfish. People don’t realize that Leviticus also setup the clerical class and its support mechanism.
Rep. Edith Ajello was great though. Through most of the proceedings she was quiet, until Rabbi Laufer started spouting. She said that the bill in question did not force religions to recognize gay marriage. And towards the end she stated that we live in a country where an atheist couldn’t be elected President and how that shot down her chance at the Presidency. Yeah, there were great moments for atheists in that hearing.
And as usual, early on Rep. Amy Rice of Portsmouth tore into the religious idiots, beginning with Joanne McOsker, president of Catholics for Life. McOsker stated that homosexuality could be cured, that studies backed her up to which Rice countered that by saying “You think that this committee should take one doctor’s opinion over a whole association of doctors?” whilst fanning a stack of papers with APA signatures. Not only the APA, but the AMA etc. I so love Rep. Rice.
I credit Mark Simmons with the catch phrase of the evening. When talking about his twin brother having gotten married he said ““I want to get married. Nobody ever says ‘I want to get civil unioned.’ ”
I decided to shake it up a bit. I got up to the mic and said this:
First I’d like to tell you how through amateur radio and my desire to prove a point that I became a card carrying Reverend.
As a Reverend in Rhode Island I can marry two heterosexual people but under state law I am unable to marry two homosexual people. And more to the point, I cannot marry the man that I’ve been in love with for the past fourteen years in my own state.
Short, sweet and to the point. Of course I’m waiting to see the video because I think I pounded the table a couple of times, a la Nikita Kruschev. Had I thought about it I would have banged my shoe.
Hopefully this year it’ll clear committee. And I’ve been told that my testimony raised a few heads in awareness. Granted, most of the testimony was earnest, respectful etc. But mine was a little strident and it got the attention of quite a few people, including the legislators on the committee.
I think I’ll have to attend more hearings and I’ve a feeling I’ll have to because it doesn’t look like the legislation will pass this year either, after over a decade of trying. Our esteemed Speaker of the House William Murphy keeps quashing it. I keep telling people that the only way for Rhode Island to have marriage equality is to challenge it in court. Of course GLAAD is behind Marriage Equality RI, and they of course see the RI judiciary as hostile. Perhaps on the district level, but on the level of the Supreme Court of RI, I think they’d not only issue the writ of certiorari but find in our favor. The judiciary has long stood as the bulwark against mob rule.