The protest against Proposition 8 in Providence, RI, was well-received. A few hundred gathered on this drizzly day with bright smiles and optimism. No counter-protesters were to be found, though we have been informed that out-of-state anti-marriage activists (The Alliance For Marriage) have been organizing in opposition to the expansion of marriage rights in Rhode Island.
Speakers included the mayor of Providence, David Cicilline, organizers of "Marriage Equality RI" (who sponsored the rally), state reps/senators, and, at the end of the event, participants who wished to speak.
The speeches were short and effective. Mayor Cicilline, the first openly gay mayor of a US state capital, identified the struggle as one for civil rights. State rep Ferri expressed his frustration--a legislator deemed a de facto "second class citizen," deprived of his civil rights. Speakers outlined the argument for marriage equality and encouraged those attending to bring a friend and call our state reps and senators.
Organizers hope to pass legislation for marriage equality in 3-5 years. But, this remains an uphill battle even as both of our neighboring states support marriage rights, as many legislators, in the Democratic super-majority General Assembly, feel too "safe" to be pressured. In other districts, the opposite may be the problem, as legislators fear Catholic retaliation.
This is from the perspective of a participant in the protest. Check out MERI (http://www.marriageequalityri.org/) for more information and updates on the status of marriage in Rhode Island. For the movement to advance, we must look for opportunities in all fifty states!