06/22/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The move towards civil unions in Rhode Island is not only running out of time in the General Assembly, but also running into a wall of opposition from both sides. In fact, the bill to allow for lesbians and gays to enter into civil unions remains stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and there has been no vote scheduled to move it forward.
Part of the problem for the legislation is the fact that many people are very much opposed to civil unions. While those who oppose equality in general do not want it because it could lead to same-sex marriage being enacted, there are those who oppose civil unions because it is not same-sex marriage.
While civil unions are suppose to grant the same rights given to married couples under state law, it is not likely that they will have the same social status. The bill was introduced after House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly gay, decided that same-sex marriage could not pass in the Assembly. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who opposes marriage equality, did predict support for civil unions in the Senate, but that has not materialized.
With the collapse of marriage equality pushes in Rhode Island and Maryland, New York remains the main battleground on this issue. With hope, they will pass their marriage equality law this week.