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RI’s Catholic Bishop: civil unions will "cause scandal and confusion"

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Every Catholic Bishop knows a thing or two about scandal. They allowed one of the worst child rape scandals ever. But, Bishop Tobin may be right about the confusion part. Civil unions don't work. Marriage does.

Last week, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the state's new civil unions bill into law. It's a bill that marriage activists did not want. That was demonstrated in a letter to Chafee (pdf) urging a veto from, among others, American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Freedom to Marry Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and Marriage Equality Rhode Island. Here's why, via last week's press release from Freedom to Marry and GLAD:

On the heels of a marriage victory in New York, marriage advocates including Freedom to Marry and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) sent a letter late yesterday evening to Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee calling on him to veto the civil union bill currently under consideration if it comes to his desk in its present form. The bill contains a provision that would allow religious organizations and their employees to disregard couples’ civil union status, creating unprecedented, onerous and discriminatory hurdles for same-sex couples seeking to take care of one another.

"This flawed civil union bill undermines a crucial principle that Rhode Island has always stood for -- respecting the separation of church and state," said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry. "Not only does the bill propose a separate-and-unequal status instead of ending the denial of marriage itself, it grants an unprecedented license to discriminate against same-sex couples and their families. Governor Chafee should veto this defective bill and work with the legislature to enact a marriage bill that ends discrimination while preserving religious and personal freedom on equal terms for all."
So, the RI bill "it grants an unprecedented license to discriminate against same-sex couples and their families." Rhode Island has the second highest percentage of Catholics in the country. So, the Catholic Church will be the prime beneficiary of that ability to discriminate -- and it's still not good enough for them. The Bishop is apoplectic about the new law and used it as another opportunity to engage in rhetorical gay-bashing. Considering his fellow Church leaders aided and abetted child rapists for decades, Tobin gets mighty sanctimonious about scandal, morals and sins. The Bishop's words are homophobic rantings:
Saying that civil unions "promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion," Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin reminded Catholics that they may not participate in such ceremonies.

"To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful," he said in a statement June 30, the day after passage of legislation that will give same-sex couples who enter into civil unions the same rights and benefits as marriage in Rhode Island.

The state Senate agreed to the bill, which the House had already approved, on a 21-16 vote late June 29 and Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, an Independent, has said he will sign it. Some proponents of same-sex marriage in the state opposed the bill, however, saying it did not go far enough and allowed overly broad religious exemptions.

Bishop Tobin said he was "deeply disappointed" at the decision to permit civil unions.
Our side is deeply disappointed that the new law isn't marriage. Tobin and his fellow haters know that the trendline belongs to us. They can rant, but we're going to be equal.

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