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Archive for Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gay marriage effort stalls in R.I.

May 9, 2009

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— Gay marriage could soon become the law of the land across New England — except in the heavily Roman Catholic state of Rhode Island.

A string of sudden successes for gay marriage advocates has left Rhode Island a political outlier. Maine became the fourth state in New England to legalize same-sex unions on Wednesday, while New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is now deciding whether to sign similar legislation.

Vermont lawmakers established gay marriage last month, following a path already set by courts in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Yet the movement has stalled in Rhode Island, perhaps even lost ground, after a stalemate at the Statehouse, a loss in the state’s top court and continued opposition from religious leaders.

“I do not hear voices raised, voices stating absolutely that this just cannot do,” said Cassandra Ormiston, 62, a lesbian who could not get divorced in Rhode Island after she and her partner married in Massachusetts. “It is not enough to be patient.”

Religion remains among the biggest hurdles. A recent survey by Trinity College in Connecticut showed 46 percent of Rhode Islanders identify themselves as Roman Catholic, a larger percentage than any other state.

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