RI Senate Dems formally segregate straight and gay marriages

Rhode Island senators quietly divided gay couples from straight ones in one of their last acts of 2013.

Throughout the year Rhode Island lawmakers always pass “solemnization of marriage” bills, which authorize individuals who aren’t otherwise allowed to do so to perform marriage ceremonies. The marriage approvals must be passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed by the governor.

The chambers also use what are known as “consent calendars” – lists of usually non-controversial bills – that are passed as a group in order to save time. On Wednesday night, Senate leaders used the consent calendar to quarantine the solemnization-of-marriage bills for same-sex couples from those for straight ones.

Consent Calendar #2 contained 11 bills, all of which appeared to authorize marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Consent Calendar #3, by contrast, contained 23 bills – 15 of them allowing marriage ceremonies for straight couples, plus eight bills on other topics passed earlier by the House.

Senate spokesman Greg Pare did not respond to an email asking why the same-sex ceremonies were put on a separate consent calendar, but the Senate’s Democratic leaders have long opposed same-sex marriage, although they bowed to pressure earlier this year and allowed the practice to become law.

The Senate voted 30-0 shortly after 8 p.m. to pass Consent Calendar #3, but then Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, moved on without taking up Consent Calendar #2, leaving the various same-sex couples’ solemnization-of-marriage bills in limbo.

“It’s been brought to my attention we have a consent calendar that we can do,” Paiva Weed said just before 8:30 – but then, rather than vote on the calendar with the same-sex marriages, she briefly ordered the chamber to be at ease. When the senators resumed their work, they took up other bills instead.

Paiva Weed did not tell the Senate why she decided not to move forward with Consent Calendar #2.

“If it’s happening because a small minority continue to oppose a statute being recognized then it’s petty & cheap,” tweeted Ray Sullivan, who led the campaign to pass same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.

A number of the marriage ceremonies on Consent Calendar #2 are scheduled to take place on or shortly after Aug. 1, the first day same-sex wedding ceremonies will be legal in Rhode Island.

All 11 bills for same-sex couples were sponsored by House lawmakers except one, S948, sponsored by Sens. Leonidas Raptakis and Nick Kettle on behalf of Dolores Isabella and Marcia Kaye, who are scheduled to be married Aug. 2 in Coventry. The bill was introduced on May 16 but didn’t pass the Senate Judiciary Committee until Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Rep. Frank Ferri rose in the House and asked Fox to allow him a “point of personal privilege.” Ferri, who is openly gay and pushed for passage of same-sex marriage, began to make remarks about solemnization-of-marriage bills – but Fox asked him to hold off.

Moments later, at 9:12 p.m., the Senate passed Consent Calendar #2 with no discussion on a 22-2 vote. Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and Sen. Harold Metts voted against passing the 11 same-sex marriage bills; more than one in three senators – 14 – missed the vote. Paiva Weed and Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere voted in favor.

Update: Senate spokesman Greg Pare sent an email minutes after the Senate approved the calendar with the same-sex marriage bills. “As you know, the consent calendar provides one vote on all the bills therein,” he wrote, providing links to the roll-calls. He did not explain why the 11 marriages were segregated.

Update #2: Pare said the 11 same-sex marriage bills should not be described as segregated. “They had to be separated out or voted individually or they couldn’t stay on the consent calendar, because they wanted to vote against them,” he said. “Senators wanted to vote a certain way on those bills.”

Update #3: Rep. Ferri, the openly gay Democrat who was a lead voice on legalizing same-sex marriage, rose in the House shortly after 11 p.m. to criticize Senate leaders for splitting the same-sex solemnization bills.

“It’s really an insult and disrespectful, what happened today in the Senate with the marriage bills,” Ferri said. “There’s solemnization-of-marriage bills that they held for 30 days or more and for whatever reason – we don’t know – but when they came out today and voted on them, they actually segregated the same-sex marriage bills and the non-same-sex marriage bills.”

“I mean, to be treated that way is so disrespectful and inexcusable,” Ferri said. “I’ll just leave it at that. It’s unbelievable.”

33 thoughts on “RI Senate Dems formally segregate straight and gay marriages

  1. This is petty discrimination from a Senate President more interested in pushing her theocratic agenda than in serving the people of Rhode Island. Imagine if she sorted the lists by race. Or religion. Paiva-Weed is an embarrassment to her constituents and to this state.

  2. Well played, Senate President. Your devisive strategies have allowed all to see who the bigots are in the Senate (as if we needed a demonstration.) at least Ruggerio and Metts are honest bigots. The rest are cowards and Paiva-Weed stands as a petty, theocratic tyrant.

  3. Only God can decide the definition of marriage.Not corrupt Democratic RI politicans.A bill to unionized babbysitters is a disgrace.Toll on the Sakonnet another joke.Tripling marriage fees shortly after allowing gay marriageis a typical Democratic politican move.Acting like you care about same sexmarriage you crooks.I dont agree with the same sex but gay people are not stupid.

      • Eric, you coward, the country is mostly doing pretty good. The economy is growing, unemployment is falling, overall health costs will soon be slowing, deficits are shrinking… the only thing getting destroyed is what you believe in the marketplace of ideas. I’m sorry (not sorry) that less and less people are as crummy as you.

    • Unionize baby sitters? LOL!!! WOW! Auto plate controversies? RI voted appetizer disputes? Allow gays to participate in fraudulent marriages?

      WOW! We’ve got our priorities straight in RI. Don’t try to fix the ecomony, make RI attractive to businesses, try to decrease violence (yet, most of it is done by the illegal aliens, in a state where they are welcomed with open arms)….

      The General Assembly are like overpaid Hollywood has beens on a “reality” show….

      What a mess…And WE (The working taxpayers) pay for it!

    • Sean, how is what I say being a “coward”? The unemployment numbers are up again.

      Health cost slowing? For who? Obamacare is going to destroy medical in this country. It’s not all it seems to be in the light of what you think.

      Where is the economy growing? Right here in MA/RI have announced the closing of 6 Shaw’s supermarkets–A very large company.

      Where do you get off calling someone crummy?

      Again, you are a MSNBC following fool wearing rose colored glasses sipping the cool-aid.

      Keep praising Rachel MADCOW and kissing the feet of your man made messiah Obama.


  4. Pare said the 11 same-sex marriage bills should not be described as segregated. “They had to be separated out or voted individually or they couldn’t stay on the consent calendar, because they wanted to vote against them,” he said. “Senators wanted to vote a certain way on those bills.”

    Bigots, the lot of them.

  5. Oh, here we go again! When are Rhode Island voters going to wake up and vote Paiva Weed out of office? The pettiness of it all makes me want to leave this state.

    • Why even vote? It’s all fixed. The democrats just bus in illegals to vote for them and many of their friends go to multiple polls and vote more than once.

      After Obama got voted in a 2nd term, and how I heard Sissylini bussed in people to vote for him and demanded voting places to stay open longer than they should, I will never vote again.

      RI and the rest of America is on a suicide mission. Let them slit their own wrists!

      • Eric is obviously a Faux News cool-aide drinking wingnut. Listen to real news and pay attention to the real issues, not what Fox tells you. Think for yourself. I know that’s obviously hard for someone like you but, give it a try. As far as what you call Obamacare, it was first RomneyCare. You probably agreed with it when Mittens was pushing and promoting it.

  6. “If it’s happening because a small minority continue to oppose a statute being recognized then it’s petty & cheap,”

    And its a cheap, petty slap in the face. When your “morality” runs counter to the vast majority, will, good of, and morality of the people, you are WRONG. And when you use the power given you in such a passive aggressive, petty (and frankly, SNOTTY) way, you have abdicated your responsibility to them. SHAME on you RI Democrats. You are unfit to represent us.

    • RI is known to be snotty even in polls.

      Many RIers seem to always have a chip on their shoulder and a bad additude.

      Funny, so do liberals!

  7. Pare said the 11 same-sex marriage bills should not be described as segregated. “They had to be separated out or voted individually or they couldn’t stay on the consent calendar, because they wanted to vote against them,”

    Is he stupid? That’s the very definition of “segregate”~!

    “To separate or isolate from others or from a main body or group.”


  8. It’s clearly time for “Metts and Weed” to take a hike. They continually fail to represent ALL of their constituents by their outrageous attempts to legislate their bible and their warped sense of 1955 morality.

    There is no place or bigotry and homophobia in Rhode Island politics and if they can’t refrain from behaving like 1955 neanderthals, they should just excuse themselves from politics.

    Weed being a woman should understand the damage from discrimination. Metts being a Black man should clearly understand the ugliness and hate created from discrimination – but both of them continually fail to rise above, so I say: “Cut them lose – NOW!”

  9. Let’s be blunt,Donald Carcieri was a homophobic bigot – and a useful tool for the people who were truly blocking marriage equality in RHode Island to hide behind.
    And Paiva Weed is the ringleader of them.

    • There’s a difference between being moral and being a bigot AND looking out for the best interest for society as a whole.

      There’s already been gay marriage divorces and known gays that have adopted kids and have molested them in higher quotas than heteros….A kid was molested by gay foster parents was reported to have happened right in Bristol, RI!

      In 10 years, we will see where this garbage will lead our society-right into the toliet! And the children will, again, be the ones to suffer from the greed, stupidity and selfishness of adults…

      • Can’t tell if trolling. Kinda sad that the opposition to equality has gotten so ridiculous that they’re easily mistaken for internet trolls (and vice versa).

        That divorces occur doesn’t prove anything either way, unless you’re interested in outlawing heterosexual marriage for that same reason. Relationships don’t always work out, and sometimes that doesn’t become apparent until after marriage. Or they stick together for other reasons. Whatever the case, divorce can happen to any couple.

        The gays-molesting-kids thing has been exaggerated to the point of being urban legend. Yes, it happens, and it also happens with straight adults, more often actually. Ultimately, what one identifies as has nothing to do with being a child molester. If it did, we should be more concerned about heterosexual couples.

        Really, the worst things that could come from two people marrying or adopting have already been happening with heterosexual couples for a while. Yet no one’s going to point to that information and say it proves that heterosexuals are all unfit for marriage or adoption. No reasonable person, anyway. The same goes for homosexuals.

        That’s where the unreasonable people come in. It’s as much of a double standard as any bigoted anti-equality nonsense now or in the past.

  10. Unfortunately, I gave the RI Senate too much credit for being intelligent. They’re too far north to be dumbed down by the southern tier states. Such a shame… at least they’d have an excuse!

  11. It’s so weird, and sad, because Paiva-Weed was a leader in helping to pass the gay rights bill in 1995. What happened to her?

  12. Most heterosexuals do not appear to be able to resist the urge to treat gay people badly at each and every opportunity that they get.

    Odd, since they created all of them.

  13. Do I understand correctly? they were voted on separately, but ALL of the gay marriage statutes did pass, right?

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