Tag: RI Senate

RI Senate votes yes on Marriage Equality

About damned time! The vote was 26-12.¬† We won, the bigots can suck it! I hope Christopher Plante doesn’t cry in his corn flakes. And I cannot wait to see Brian Brown in tears again.

It’s the juggernaut now. RI makes ten states – last in New England of course but recall, RI was the last to ratify the Federal Constitution too.

I’m very happy about this. At last. At long last.

In Preparation for the Senate Marriage Equality Battle in Rhode Island

So you can see I posted a Rogues Gallery of all the Representatives who voted against marriage equality. Some of the names on the list rang bells for me.

So I did some digging and found out a number of them had graduated from LaSalle Academy, same as I had. In fact one I definitely knew of as he graduated the year before me. Others graduated when I began high school.

So I’m scanning through the 38 Senators now. I figure lets identify those with whom I share an alma mater. It could be useful.

Sen. William J. Conley Jr. is on the Board of Regents of LaSalle. Now as far as I recall you had to be a grad of the school to serve so it’s likely he is though his bio doesn’t mention that.

Sen. Daniel DaPonte graduated from LaSalle Academy in 1996

Sen. Paul W. Fogarty  graduated LaSalle Academy, no year indicated.

Sen. Dominick J. Ruggerio – graduated from LaSalle Academy in 1966

Sen. William A. Walaska – graduated LaSalle Academy, no year provided.

That’s five out of thirty eight, or 13% of the Senate are affiliate with and/or graduated from LaSalle Academy.

What’s more interesting as I went through lots of schools starting with Saint, Bishop etc. in there.


Response from Legislators to my daily(somewhat) emails on Marriage Equality

So every time I find a blog post or media piece that supports marriage equality I copy the link, sometimes post a short summary and shotgun them out to ever legislator in the Rhode Island House.

I’ve also begun contacting certain Senators in the state. Overall the responses have taken the form of emails and one telephone call. 80% of them have been very polite and sometimes very enlightening.

For example, here are some messages from Karen MacBeth who overall seems to be supportive.

The first message:

I am elected by my district to represent them.
While I take the interest of the state into account I represent District 52.
Apparentely you have not done your research to determine where I stand on this issue or you would not feel the need to email me.
I find your emails to be on the cutting side it appears that you are carrying a major chip on your shoulder and attempt to put ones on the defense.

It is time that we all work together!

MacBeth’s next message to me is interesting.

I stand for equality for all and am disappointed that both “sides” have those that are unwilling to work together.
I support legislation for equality. There are portions of the current proposed legislation that may discriminate against certain cultural beliefs.
For example in some cultures if a husband passes away the woman has to marry the younger brother if he is not married…this legislation
does not allow this. Whether I agree with the cultural requirements is not the point…I see it as discrimination against a group…exactly what I
stand against! I have asked the sponsor to address this for the last couple years but it is has not been addressed.

Are you aware that MERI had a candidate run for the seat I currently hold… Even though Kim Bright of MERI was well aware of where I stand on this issue.
I met with her in person. When I spoke with my former opponent this week she was shocked to see that we are on the same page. She asked me, “Then why did I (meaning she
run and just finish paying off $4000 in campaign debt? My question is, “Why was she misled and not told where I stand?”

I am strong in my conviction for equality for all and will continue to look past the negativity from both sides.
I look forward to working with anyone that is willing to work together.

Thank you for your correspondence. If you come to the state house I look forward to meeting you.


Another from MacBeth:

The speaker is doing the hurry up and wait because at this moment he does/may not have the votes on the house floor to pass this.
There are reps that have changed their mind and their are those that have not made up their minds.
Though I have not been a Fox supporter in this instance I have to respect him for what he is doing. Why put this to a vote now when
you may not have the votes….but may have the votes as the session goes on? Also why have people take a vote that may not pass
and then have it possibly cost them the election and then be replaced by someone that is not of the same mindset?
While I understand your frustration I do understand Fox’s choice.
I can not speak for Jabour but if he is willing to vote it out of committee I give him credit…what it appears he is saying is that he does not
support it but agrees that is should come to a vote and allow all to vote…again this is just my guess on this.

Next up is Tea Party Representative Doreen Costa:

Hi Tony,
Thanks so much for contating me on this issue.

The response email was from an aol account that I won’t list here. I queried if she was in fact Doreen Costa and got the following:

Yes sir I am.

Now for the best one, Senator Maher. The only reason I contacted Maher was because a friend of mine on Facebook had forwarded me his exchange with Maher.

So I emailed Maher and told him his conduct was unbecoming of a state Senator and that I would help to hold him accountable for his words.

Here is what he wrote back to me:

Mr. Truthspew,

I have never taken a position to support or oppose or challenge NOM. Nor have I ever attended any their rallies or events despite numerous invitations. I have a opinion and all I ask is what others expect. Simple respect. However, if I do not receive it, I don’t give it. Ad the email I received from Mr. Siegal was inappropriate. I am done with communication on this issue. I tried to keep a open mind, but advocates such as yourself have gone far over the line with your own way of dealing with this.

To which I replied that I’d hold him accountable. Here is how I am holding him accountable, by posting it on my blog:

I did say I was done with communication on this issue. But now YOU have gone over the line. I will be forwarding our communications to the Rhode Island State Police for review. You words can be perceived as a threat.

Best regards,

Senator Frank Maher
Senior Deputy Minority Leader

So let me get this right, Maher first says I threatened him and then threatens me with the State Police. And then has the stones to close with “Best regards,”.

I got one phone call from Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Rep. Dickinson and I spoke for about 40 minutes and he is an nteresting guy to talk with. But he supports putting this to a public referendum in order to legitimize it.

There are a couple of interesting things about Dickinson. The first is that this is the second time that Dickinson had been a state representative prior to this pass. It was during the 1980’s when RI had an anti-abortion referendum on the ballot that failed. He also brought up the failed Indian casino bill.

I countered with legislation in the 1990’s that enacted Employment, Housing and Credit non-discrimination for LGB people in 1996, and for transgender people in 2001. I also mentioned that the current legislature gave us the funeral rights bill. So there is progress and he countered that incremental change was happening. I countered that incremental was fine but we wouldn’t need to slog through the incremental approach if we had full marriage equality.

This is when he brings up on Victor Profughi who I’ve written about prior to this, thoroughly debunking his NOM 80% of RI’ers want to vote civil rights for LGBT people on a referendum.

Dickinson had paid Profughi to do some political polling and he swears by him. He was surprised to hear of my debunking of the 80% NOM number.

As to Speaker Fox, he’s setup filters in his email program to respond with a canned response that isn’t worth posting. In essence he says he’s a co-sponsor of the bill and thank you for emailing.