Providence, R.I 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.