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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 ( 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!

The two greatest arguments for gay marriage that signs can hold

Picture by Marriage Equality RI

Originally posted to Rhode Island X on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 08:31 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've long seen Rhode Island.... (5+ / 0-) a likely candidate. Has there been a court ruling there? I realize that out of state marriages are recognized, at least based on a trial court decision, but I haven't heard much beyond that.  

    Given that your former Republican senator supported marriage equality, I think RI is a perfect target for a legislative victory.

    "We're half awake in a fake empire."

    by Alec82 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 08:37:06 PM PST

    •  The governor and majority leaders (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalLiberal, 1BQ, Alec82

      are, unfortunately, stumbling blocks.  I haven't kept up with the dynamics as much as I would like, but I know Governor Carcieri (R) is opposed to same-sex marriage.  Some Democratic leaders are also helping to block reform, such as Speaker Murphy.  (Fortunately, one non-Progressive leader, Senate President Montalbano, failed to be reelected due to questionable ethics...But we have a ways to go.)

      But, there does seem to be a lot of optimism, and I'm not aware of what might be going on behind the scenes.  Talks with leaders, nose counts, that sort.  If we get a Progressive Democrat for a governor in 2010, there's no reason to think we won't have a real shot.

  •  The stumbling block is Catholic Dems? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, Rhode Island X

    And not your Republican governor?  I'd have thought it would be the governor who was holding things up.

    •  Gov Carcieri certainly the most visible roadblock (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, 1BQ

      But the Catholics have a far more powerful grassroots movement in RI than the Progressives, it must be admitted.  Legislators are cautious to disturb the sleeping beast.  You don't necessarily see this organization on the issue of same-sex marriage, but conservative Catholics, both Democratic and Republican, have formed a powerful alliance on abortion and related social issues.  

      In my opinion, the social conservatives haven't showed much movement on opposing same-sex marriage because they don't consider it a pressing concern--there's been relatively little visible action on either side, compared to abortion, sex ed, birth control, and related debates.  It's not because social conservatives don't have the support or organization.  It's because counter-protesting us isn't as 'sexy' as intimidating vulnerable women at clinics or holding massive pro-life fundraisers and marches.

      It just might be the curse of having such a reliably blue state that Progressive attention is turned elsewhere...Socially conservative activism simply overpowers us on certain issues, and we Progressives don't have the same infrastructure.

  •  Thanks for the diary. Love RI... esp Queers :) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, Rhode Island X
  •  "Jesus Had Two Daddies" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, 1BQ, Rhode Island X

    was my favorite sign from today's Seattle march.

    "You can't negotiate with reality" - James Kunstler

    by Bob Love on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 10:45:48 PM PST

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