So I got there early to get my name fairly high up on the list to testify. They said the hearing would start at 4:30PM, it didn’t start until 6:30PM.
I did note that the parade of nitwits and the God Squad (Aka the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence) were fairly light in attendance this evening. In fact the God Squad only sent one Deacon to testify against Marriage Equality, Civil Unions, and granting of divorce to same sex couples whose marriages were performed in Massachusetts. The Deacon sat and read a statement from Bishop Tobin and of course it was the usual drivel. But I noted that it apparently didn’t appear to be a hot button issue this year since Fr. Codega and his crew weren’t there. None of the bishops in recent memory have ever attended the hearing either.
We heard from the marriage equality bill sponsor, Rep. Arthur Handy as well as from Rep. Frank Ferri the openly gay and partnered one. There are now three gay members of the House, Ferri, Fox, and Costantino. Hopefully this bodes well for us.
We also heard from Rep. Al Gemma in support too!
There were four stars in the testimony this evening. Two pro and one con.
I’ll start with the con. They put up Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage up and of course she kept on and on ad naseum about how the perfect thing for marriage throughout time was a man and a woman. NOM was founded by one Brian S. Brown. Would someone find that asshat and give him a good beating for me? It got particularly fun when Rep. Amy Rice started in on her. Rice loves provoking the religious nitwits. Rice is a very bright person too, she hold numerous degrees from some very good schools.
Then of course on the con side we had the less notable Brown University Pysch professor Lewis Lipsitt who claimed that studies show that male-female parents are better for a child than children with a single parent, or remarried parents or heave fucking forbid, a gay couple. The man should have his shingle revoked. Funny how his specialty is in developmental psych and he mentioned that the vast volume of literature on parenting and its effect on children is heterosexually based, that there are at max only about fifty studies on homosexual couples raising children and he said some pretty hateful things.
So much so that the 12 year old daughter who testified several people after Professor Dipshit was in tears and Rep. Edith Ajello tried to soothe the distraught girl.
On the pro side we had three notable testimonies this evening.
The first was Jenn Steinfeld, the director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island. At times you could tell she was getting frustrated with the questions from the reps on the committee. But she made them look like the fools they are, particularly Rep. Jon Brien. Brien has a bill that proposes putting the question to the voters of the state, in essence a DOMA bill that he swears up and down isn’t a DOMA bill. Brien kept stating over and over that the statute forming the RI Family Courts said that marriage was a union between man and woman when the statute he’s talking about does NOT contain that phrase.
Thanks for playing Rep. Brien, but for an attorney you sure are a dim fucking bulb.
Next was a gentleman whose name escapes me, but he had his partner of 20 years die in his home. The gentleman was handcuffed, denied any right to see his dead partner, make funeral arrangements, etc. Really a very touching reminder of why we need marriage equality in this state.
Finally Casandra Ormiston testified. What a grand and eloquent testimony it was. She rattled the reps sitting on the bench, let me tell you that. The name might be somewhat familiar if you’ve been following the gay divorce case going through the RI courts. She touched on EVERYTHING with a very dramatic flair, so much so that a couple of the Reps on the committee complimented her.
Others of those opposed were the wife of Steven Boyce a pastor at New Life Worship Center in Smithfield, RI (Warning! Flash Laden Site) She boasts her church has 1,000 members, blah,blah blah and urged them to reject the bills in question. She has a voice that to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I just wanted to blurt out “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”. And the other thing, how do we get these little mega-churches in Rhode Island?
I also heard that Christopher Young went off on a 20 minute psycho rant against marriage equality. . Everyone who’s met Young knows he’s certifiably nuts. Yet he got 26% of the vote in his run for various offices. I consider anything up to 28% to be the lunatic fringe. Even George W. Bush still has a 28% approval rating, that’s his core, his base, the lunatics among us. Young clearly falls into that category.
Apparently these hearings have been playing out for more than a decade. I did have an idea though I didn’t get to testify. When it rolled around to 10PM and the chair was saying there were no more names on the list yet there were, I just left. But here’s the idea, link support of marriage equality to money. Seriously, the state is in dire financial straits here and one gentleman testifying made note of the fact that when his sister married her partner in Massachusetts, all the money was spent in that state. I think we should really pounce on that issue too.
I am told that greater than 2/3’s of the Judiciary committee supports bringing the marriage equality bills to the floor for a vote but the leadership in both the house and senate keep doing things to quash the bills, like scheduling committee hearings near the end of the legislative session.
House Speaker William Murphy, Senate President Joseph Montalbanowww, and Governor Donald Carcieri have all voiced their opposition to the bills. But I’m calling on them now to stop with their religious objections to the bills in question, with the exception of Brien’s DOMA bullshit. You still have time in this session to do the right thing and pass the equality bills.
In case you’re interested, I created a video and sent it to the entire Judiciary Committee and the Speaker.