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Marriage Equality: “Grave Risk” to Society

April 24, 2013

When the Supreme Court decided on December 7 to hear the California same-sex marriage case, I was concerned that state legislatures might hold back on marriage-equality laws until the Court issues its decision some time this spring or early summer. But it looks like my concern was unfounded.

Yesterday, the Delaware House of Representatives passed marriage equality legislation and sent it to the Senate, where it could get a committee hearing as soon as next week. The vote was 23 – 18, with five Democrats voting no and one Republican voting yes. For what it’s worth, the Delaware Senate is composed of 14 Democrats and seven Republicans. Democratic Governor Jack Markell favors marriage equality.

Today, the Judiciary Committee of the Rhode Island Senate voted 7 – 4 to send a marriage equality bill to the full Senate. The House previously approved the bill, and 32 of 38 Senators are Democrats. Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee has promised to sign the bill.

The Catholic church has worked hard to beat the Rhode Island bill, in a state that is more than 60 percent Roman Catholic. Watching the progress of the bill, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin issued a statement on Monday urging Rhode Island Senators to “stand strong” against marriage equality, which he referred to as “immoral and unnecessary.” He added that passage of the legislation would constitute a “grave risk to our spiritual well-being and the common good of our society.”

Bishop Tobin issued this statement just one week after terrorists a few miles north of him blew up the finish line at the Boston Marathon with a couple of pressure cooker bombs, killing three people and injuring more than 200.

Terrorism is a “grave risk” to our well-being and common good. Marriage equality, not so much.

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