Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rhode Island Should Make a Bold Move For Equality

Rachel Weiner reports at on developments in Rhode Island...
In Rhode Island, an entire delegation to the state Senate backs gay marriage - and it’s the Republicans.

Rhode Island Public Radio reports that all five Republican members of the state’s upper chamber will support a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

The state House voted in favor of gay marriage earlier this year; it’s now before the  Senate Judiciary Committee and could see a vote in the full Senate by the end of the week. 
Other states within the US are progressing, too, including Illinois, Nevada, and Delaware. In other countries, New Zealand just adopted the limited same-gender freedom to marry, France is coming online, and there is progress elsewhere as well.

Rhode Island is in a unique position for US states as far as adopting full marriage equality as it has no laws against consanguinamory. This means that there are currently consanguinamorous households existing in the Rhode Island without violating any laws. The citizens of Rhode Island in such relationships should also have their right to marry, if that is what they want to do.

The lawmakers of Rhode Island should adopt a law that reflects this policy...

An adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion, should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any and all consenting adults, without prosecution, harassment, or discrimination.

There are many reasons why they should do this.

1. There are adults in Rhode Island, and in some cases their children, suffering right now because of discriminatory laws preventing them from marrying. If we really care about children, equality, stability, security, and valuing family, we will let people decide for themselves what kind of relationships they will have, including marriage, if they want to marry.

2. As US Supreme Court precedent states, marriage is a fundamental civil right.

3. As US Supreme Court precedent states, when the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, the usual deference to the legislature is inappropriate, and the Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced and the extent to which they are served by the challenged regulation.

4. Freedom of association for consenting adults is a basic Constitutional right. Just as there is no good reason to ban interracial relationships or marriage, there is no good reason to ban same-gender relationships or marriages, polyamorous relationships or polygamous marriages, or consanguinamorous relationships or consanguineous marriages. There is no good reason to limit marriage to narrowly exogamous heterosexual couples.

5. Freedom of religion is a basic Constitutional right. One group’s religion should not deny the rights of other consenting adults to be together or marry. Conversely, some religions recognize or promote marriages currently banned under laws in most or all fifty states, depending on the marriages.

6. Such legislation will provide what the Constitution requires: equal protection, rather than a piecemeal approach of this freedom to marry or that form of civil union. Equality just for some, or in some aspects but not others, is not equality. The Constitutional principles of equal protection, freedom of association, freedom of religion, and the right to privacy, along with basic fairness, rational reflection, and compassion, necessitate that the the state ensure the rights of all adults.

7. The momentum within the US, neighboring countries, and the modern world is for marriage equality. Full marriage equality is inevitable, as even many opponents of equality admit. So it is pointless to drag the fight out.

8. Recognizing relationships rights, including full marriage equality, for all adults is good for business, as many businesses have publicly stated. Their employees will no longer be treated as second-class citizens.

Nobody should be denied the freedom to marry other consenting adults.

There are people who love each other, who have been living as spouses, even have children together, who are denied their rights, who need and want full marriage equality.

Let’s get on the right side of history sooner rather than later, and put the hate, bigotry, and bullying behind us. Rhode Island should protect the rights of all adults in the state.
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