September 23, 2014
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Marriage equality endorsed at emotional, one-sided hearing
Warwick Beacon
PARTNERS: Laura Pisaturo, left, and her partner Maria Tocco said their roots are in Rhode Island, but they had to travel to Boston to be married

The City Council unanimously called on state legislators to endorse marriage equality Monday night before a supportive audience that enthusiastically applauded the personal stories of married gays and lesbians, and then politely listening to an argument it had no place before the council and that they should hear both sides before voting.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, who docketed the resolution three weeks ago, called the council “the front line to the citizens of Warwick,” adding that in the past the body has advocated for the elderly, veterans and even pets and should do the same for all citizens. She said the reason council members are elected is to lead and to vote.

When marriage equality legislation came before the State Senate Judiciary Committee recently, the hearing stretched into the early morning hours. That wasn’t the case Monday, although council committee hearings that started at 5 p.m. didn’t conclude until almost 9. Once in session, the council rapidly approved the resolution.

Support for the resolution came from religious leaders and a cross section of the community.

The Rev. Betsy Aldrich Garland spoke of how she is the mother of two and grandmother of three and “fell in love” with her partner Kim eight years ago. She said that in her ministry, she sees “much suffering” and that her faith leads her to speak up for these people. As for her own situation, she said, “It may not be your choice, but I ask you not to judge mine.”

Because same-sex marriage is not recognized in Rhode Island, Rabbi Peter Stein of Temple Sinai said he can’t offer the same level of pastoral care he does for straight couples to same-sex couples. The themes of different standards for different people, lack of fairness and discrimination were repeated by many in often personal and emotional testimony.

Maria Tocco and Laura Pisaturo of Governor Francis Farms stood together at the microphone. Tocco talked of her love for what Warwick has to offer, but she and Pisaturo had no choice but to leave Rhode Island to be married in Boston six years ago.

“The state [Rhode Island] is based on the principle of tolerance, but they don’t tolerate us,” she said.

Apponaug resident Jack Thompson talked about his daughter, Mary, who with her partner adopted two orphans from China and then how she developed a brain tumor like Senator Ted Kennedy, except she was treated and recovered, regaining most of what she lost. However, a “lack of a piece of paper” that recognized her marriage denied her health coverage from her spouse. Thompson said that is now past, adding, “I am very proud of them.”

Rep. Frank Ferri, with his partner Tony Caparco at his side, called the legislation “very emotional and meaningful.” He said he feels a part of the community but that he should have the same rights.

Two other Warwick officials, School Committee Chair Bethany Furtado and member Karen Bachus, joined the chorus supporting the resolution. Bachus talked of counseling young people and the anguish some go through – even to the point of suicide – when confronting their love for someone of the same gender.

“It is time for equal rights for everyone to marry who they love,” she said. “Who are we to judge others if they are not hurting anyone?”

A Catholic mother married for 27 years, Furtado said she believes “as human beings, you have the right to marry who you choose.”

Married for 30 years, Edward and Anne Bonetti told the story of their son who told them he was gay nine years ago. Fearing rejection, he had his bags packed and was ready to leave home. “He felt that torment,” said Edward.

He went on to describe the wedding of their straight daughter.

“As parents, we want the same thing for both our children,” he said.

Roy Dempsey, a regular at council meetings, said council members were only getting one side to the story.

“I don’t see how you can make a decision; you don’t know the pros and the cons,” he said. He said the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman has been in place for 2,000 years and that there should be a “valid reason to break that.”

Dempsey countered statements that the council was taking a courageous step to address the issue of marriage equality.

“This isn’t courageous,” he said. “You have got to get both sides to make a decision.”

In the only outburst during the committee hearing, a voice from the back of the chambers declared, “You have really outdone yourself this time, Roy Dempsey.”

After unanimous passage by the inter-governmental committee, remaining council committee work was completed before the council came to order. As it took up the resolution, council members expressed their support of the resolution.

“It’s time for this to get done. It’s long overdue,” said Council President Donna Travis.

Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon observed that the council has no control over marriage equality. Nonetheless, he saw a place for the resolution.

“It’s how we treat our fellow human beings,” he said. “It’s not a matter of law. It’s a matter of living our lives the way they should be.”

Ward 1 Councilman Stephen Colantuono said he was happy to support the resolution, although he does not believe the issue will be resolved quickly. Ward 8 Councilman Joseph Gallucci said he has lived his life by respecting the beliefs of others. Ward 5 Councilman Edgar Ladouceur called it an issue of fairness and respect.

“It is the fair and right thing to do,” he said.

With passage of the resolution, Vella-Wilkinson stood to applaud, as did the audience.


Comments
32 comments on this item

Camille....what does open government mean to you? For this resolution you win the sneak award.

Figures Roy has to argue this one...

Sneak award? It doesn't really take much time to go online and see the agenda for the Council meetings @Reality, in fact, here's a link: http://www.warwickri.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=867:warwick-city-council-agenda&catid=78:warwick-city-council-main&Itemid=232.

This agenda item was posted and made public to anyone who took the time to read and do a tiny bit of research. I bet @Reality is actually Roy continuing on with his bogus arguments.

Sorry Warwickite. I am not @Reality. At some point maybe you will come to realize that hidden, self-serving agenda items, does a great disservice to this community. If you were at the meeting you would have seen that I opposed the process of what was going on and took no position one way or another on the resolution. In fact, the resolution was not even fully drafted as of the time of the committee hearing.

Roy......sorry you have to take heat for calling out Vella for her sneaky way of conducting business. Her ward will soon hear how she panders to special interests. She can bank on it.

Single people pay less taxes. you want equaility.Enjoy the marriage tax penalty..

Two incomes=higher tax rate.

@Reality, it makes me laugh when I hear about the so called "short warning" people claim they received. The truth is that BOTH SIDES had the same amount on notice. Both the pro and the con side had an equal amount of time to get themselves and others who support their point of view out to the meeting. One side was more effective at this than the other. This could be due to a number of variables.

First, it simply might be that there are more people in the city of Warwick that support one side over the other. If this is the case, as I augured when I testified at the meeting, more time MIGHT have brought out more people, but the results might have been the same. If more time was given we might have seen more people on both sides. The numbers might have larger but the ratio would have been the same. In other words If one day notice brought out 1 person against and 10 people for, than 2 days notice might have brought out 10 folks against and 100 people for. The sample size might have been larger, but the statics would be the same the same. We would see the SAME percentages of pro and con.

In addition, it might be that one side is more organized than the other. If that is the case it is the responsibility of those who take a particular side to be organized and to get information out to their community and cant them to be active. Keep in mind BOTH sides had equal notice; one side was more effective than the other.

Finally, no matter what side of an issue a person is on, they tend the think THEY are on THE right side. People on both sides not only think they are right, in addition people on both sides think EVERYone agrees with them. When faced with evidence that they are in the minority when they are convinced they hold the majority view, it can be very upsetting. People often look for something to blame and lash out when they are faced with evidence that their perception of reality is not reality.

No matter what you can’t blame the amount of time, poor organization, or a misperception of the number of people that share your point of view on the city council.

@John Howell, I question the appropriateness of your head line “Marriage equality endorsed at emotional, one-sided hearing” Let’s be accurate ANYone could testify, no one was restricted or forbidden. All one had to do is go to the meeting, sing up, and wait their turn. I and many other did just that. The results of the testimony simply reflect the points of view of those who testified, nothing more.

Emotional? REALLY? Personal, yes, but no one was screaming or rolling on the floor. Expect for one women who yelled out and was reprimanded by her own side.

We hear so much about “the liberal media” and the “left wing bias”. If one were to only listen to this rhetoric one would think there was NO counter point to MSNBC and the Huffintion post. However if one were to open their eyes they would see there are extremes on both sides, Fox news and the Warwick Beacon are proof of that.

Camille doesn't know how to lead.....she is a big fluff doll....all show no substance......chickens anyone ?????

@Reality I find it interesting that I took some time to write a response to your original post, yet you chose to ignore it and personally attack someone else, while ignoring the points I raised. One would have to ask themselves why this is. Is it that you lack the academic ability to respond to a reasoned and logic based statement? Or is it that you might think that I am not Paul Auger as the screen name at the top of my posts clearly states I am? Perhaps you wrongly assume I am Councilwoman Vella-Wilkinson in some kind of digital disguise. I assure you I am not Ms. Vella-Wilkinson I am Paul Auger. As I said I testified that night. In my testimony I spoke of the fact that more time would not change the pro/con ratio. I also spoke of the fact that this was a legal debate not a theological issue. I went on to say that if we are going to work for religious liberty we need to advocate for religious liberty for ALL, including those who hold sincerely held religious beliefs that say same sex couples should be married and to deny clergy the right to do so restricts THEIR religious freedom, especially since the bill propose contains a section that makes it clear that NO clergy would be forced to perform a rite that goes against their religious traditions. Finally I went on to talk about the scary thing I have noticed over the past 30 years, that we are seeing ONE religious group try to dictate the behavior of ALL citizens based on their doctrine, even if some citizens do not adhere to their dogma. Tobin is a prime example of this. He never comments as a private citizen, which he has every right to do. He always uses his title of "Bishop" when he comments on civil law, This is am attempt to do 2 things.

1 This attempts to make civil law confirm to church law. Forcing all people to follow church law, church members or not.

2. There are members of his church that will go along with him just because of his title. There is a certain element of FEAR here. Tobin uses his title and the mythology of the church even if he dose not do so explicitly, to corroces and intimidate his flock.

We have seen these same behaviors in the religious leaders of other countries. They want to force all people to follow church law by making church law civil law. These same leaders use their place of authority and their myths to intimidate members of their faith community. We see this is the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Before anyone asks, YES I am comparing the religious right including Evangelicals and Catholics to the Taliban. YES I am comparing Evangelical leaders and others like Bishop Tobin to the leaders of Al Qaeda. Am I saying we are at the same point they are right NOW? No, not YET. At the same time if we don't keep this in check we WILL end up there.

If you want to see MY testimony please go to http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31170369 and move the video player to 2:10. As you will see I am Paul Auger as you will see I spell my name out A-U-G-E-R., the same as above my post. I use my real name here and am willing to take reasonability for my comments can you say the same?

Roy, you took no side at the meeting. What is your side now?

Roy and Reality your both a joke..

Camille Vella Wilkinon is a complete fraud. For all of you that think that this hearing was open government, you are all very much mislead by the same poor examples of Vella Wilkinson's. Which by the way is very much prevalent in Warwick government. Lets talk reality. When the few people that can attend a council meeting at the rediculous time of 5pm (when everyone but the leaches of society are working or getting their children to activities) have an opportunity to review the agenda on line they realize several facts.

1. The agenda on line was posted 48 hours before the meeting.

2. People scan the agenda for key words in resolutions which, by the way, are typically useless.

3. In all of the years that I have been attending meetings, every resolution that is in favor of a general assembly bill, has the bill title attached to it. This resolution by the charliton Wilkinson, did not.

4. Wilkinson and her sub human attorney friend, Cardona, who represent the liberal agenda, bused in the participants of the meeting, gave them the heads up in advance, and notified Frank Ferri. That is fact. Few if any of them live in Warwick, and none of them have ever been present at a Warwick City Council meeting.

5. Wwhen it comes to hearings, Wilkinson has voted against every public hearing that effects the taxpayer. Car taxes, actuary hearings, dishonorable service hearings, etc... However, she continually, sucks up to the public sector unions and the progressive liberals, at the cost of the taxpayer.

6. The fact of the matter is that SHE IS REALLY NOT THAT SMART OF A PERSON. Think about it, Stevie D. endorses her. That says it all. ( im sorry , thats Steve Dimuccio , first class firefighter with base salary of $68,583.00 without egregious overtime.) Steve endorses anyone who rapes the taxpayer in the name of union benifits.

In every public hearing when the people have not been allowed to speak, Wilkinson, panders to the union labor, has refused to conduct audits on the departments, and puts forth nonsense resolutions that are nothing more than an opinion from a dysfunctional human being.

The agenda is that Wilkinson is planting her seed to run for mayor in 2014 by romancing the unions. Think of that agenda? Maybe she will hire Richard Simmons to be her public liason. She is just what Warwick needs as a public representative. Or should we call her a public REPREHENSIBLE ?

I think we need to let Roy’s testimony speak for itself. You can view it by going to http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31170369 and moving the video player to 1:58

Roy lets us know he is confused by all the terms being thrown out at the meeting. He claims not to know “the rules of the game” or what the pros and cons of the issue are. He then goes on to tell the committee, who clearly have took more time to research the so called rules of the game and the pro and cons than Roy has. That he does not think they can come to a decision because HE does not understand the issue.

So the first stand Roy took was that since ROY does not understand the issue, no one else does either, therefore we can’t make a decision.

Roy then takes his second stand. Since there are more people on the pro side then the con side the issue is not being spoken about in a “balanced way”. He fails to mention that both sides had the same amount of time to let their people know about the meeting, one side simply did a better job of organizing or perhaps had MORE people on their side to start with.

Roy then takes his third stand. We should hear the pros and the con like they do in court. Yet Roy can’t offer either the pros or the cons, so the city’s decision making must sink to the level of the lowest common denominator when it comes to empirical data about the issue. In this case it seems that Roy is self admittedly the least educated among us about the issue, despite the fact that Roy could use Google to get all sorts of data, or he could drive across state lines in to Connecticut, or Mass or any other New England state to gather information. By the way, he can drive to any of these states since despite the fact that they have passed marriage equality, they have not burst into flames or fallen into the sea. Roy seems to think that since he has not done the work it gather the needed data, they we all should wait for him to catch up.

Roy takes his forth stand. We are trying to create 2 “institutions” one two thousand year old and another, according to Roy has been around 25 or 30 years. I am assuming they Roy is getting the number 2,000 from the claim that the Catholic Church makes that it is 2,000 years old. By doing this Roy suggest that the only valid marriages are Catholic marriages, he discounts all the marriages that took place before the Catholic Church was established. Good thing he does that, he would have a hard time explaining Solomon’s MANY wives.

He takes a fifth stand. We need to know about the “impact” of marriage equality on our society, schools and churches” as I already said Roy can Google this information or go to any other NE state and find this out. The fact that he is just too lazy to do so is no one’s fault but his own.

Roy’s Sixth stand reveals the true nature of Roy’s concerns he quotes Bishop Tobin says he wants to know about the impact of marriage equality on the Catholic Church and other Catholic own businesses such as hospitals. Note he is only worried about CATHOLIC intuitions. All the rest don’t matter. Her wants to fashion the law in such a way to give the Catholic Church special protection. Think back to the connection I made to the extremist Catholic and evangelicals and the Taliban or Al Qaida a few comments back.

If Roy bothered to take the time to READ the resolution he WOULD KNOW the impact!

. The bill clearly states that “This act would allow any two (2) individuals, who are otherwise eligible under chapter 15-1, to marry regardless of gender, while protecting the freedom of religious institutions to make their own decisions regarding marriage eligibility within their own faith’s tradition, without interference from the state. This act would also prohibit any state agency or local government from penalizing any clergy for refusing to solemnize a marriage under this chapter”. So it would have NO impact on the church.

As far as other businesses owned by the Church they would be subject to the same laws that any other secular business would be. The truth is many of these laws already speak to some of the issues Roy might be concerned about. For example there are already anti discrimination laws on the books that would forbid a business to deny service to an individual based on race, gender, creed, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender expression. So passing marriage equality or NOT passing it would have no effect on these businesses, there are already laws in place that speak to those issues.

Roy takes a seventh stand. It is wrong for the City Council to make a blanket statement about this matter.

Roy’s eighth stand is that there should be ANOTHER meeting about this matter. Forget everything you heard tonight, everyone come back, and get the opposite side. Again he fails to mention that both sides had equal notice and one side simply had more people. Roy, you don’t get a “do over” just because you lost.

Roy takes his ninth stand that the city council is not being courageous, but in Roy’s words “the opposite of that” by taking a vote that night.

So I guess TECHNICLY Roy is correct, Roy did not take A STAND, as in ONLY ONE stand, Roy took nine stands. Each of Roy’s NINE stands was based on a self admitted lack of knowledge. A lack of information Roy seems strangely proud of.

I can't wait for budget hearings. No more can the city council have a group wait to be heard......they will be moved to the front of the line. No longer will there be a time limit as what citizens can say.....no longer will we be confined to just the topic at hand.....Camille and company changed the rules for the gay and lesbian coalition and we ,the taxpayers, demand the same courtesy going forward. Camille....it's all about equality.

Steve Denucci has now been identified and we expect Mr. Know it All at the microphone articulating the case for the bloated fire dept. Be a man Stevie....

Hey Reality noticed that you do not want to have a FACT based dialog with me. Whats up with that?

@ Paul Auger. Regarding your first remark, pros and cons of the issue, they have not in fact been clearly defined. See front page of Sunday's Journal. What position was the Warwick City Council actually voting on? Second point, Balanced Approach, see prior remarks about how this resolution was handled. Your third comment, see my first comment above. Your forth comment, see my first comment above. Your fifth comment, see my first comment above. Your sixth comment, see my first comment above. Your seventh comment regarding a blanket statement, you are continuously looking for specifics on this blog, do you think that a blanket statement is OK regarding this issue? Eighth point. There was not a lot of specifics at the meeting. You are right, I would have liked to here them. Ninth point, see my first point above, what did they vote for?

Roy Dempsey is right of course. What the Council did was neither courageous nor right. On controversial issues, like gay marriage, it's the responsibility of every elected body to obtain both sides of the story before making a decision. Quite obviously, the City Council did not. Instead, it apparently heard only the side that it wanted to hear or didn't bother (or won't bother) to solicit information contrary to the legal recognition of gay marriage. In so doing, the Council action was a charade - not a courageous act, especially since the audience was packed with supporters of gay marriage.

That information does not reflect favorably on legally recognizing gay marriage. On the contrary, the full set of facts strongly argues against against it. Here's why:

Government recognition is bestowed, only, on human behavior that's beneficial to the individual and to society. Monogamous marriage between one man and one woman qualifies for this recognition because (on average) it increases life expectancy, reduces stress, diminishes to zero the potential for STDs, and provides the best environment for raising children. The science supporting this outcome and the references upon which it is based is irrefutable (1).

Science, though, proves the exact opposite for same-sex behavior, whether it occurs in a committed relationship or not (1). For in comparison to heterosexuals, homosexuals, primarily men, aren't monogamous in committed relationships and both gay men and lesbians are far more likely to divorce, which would only weaken marriage below its already diminished state. Further, for this reason and because it involves human physiology that's not designed for same-sex interaction, same-sex activity is highly prone to bodily damage and serious disease, especially HIV/AIDS to which homosexuals are 44 times more likely to contract on a per person basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This is not only bad for the individual but it's also bad for society, not only because of the medical consequences but because of the capacity for homosexuality to be triggered in people, whose genetic and biological makeup makes them prone to developing the behavioral urge.

There are numerous examples of this concept. One is from Dr. Ritch C. Savin-Williams of Cornelly University. In his book, "The New Gay Teenager," believes same-sex behavior is on the upswing due to cultural influences exerted by the media and educational curricula. Legally recognizing gay marriage will only be one more factor that could trigger homosexuality in people who are more prone to it than others and encourage same-sex behavior in people who are already homosexual. For after all, marriage encourages the dating that precedes it, which for homosexuals will mean exposure to the serious medical, psychological, and sociological problems to which homosexuals are far more prone than straights on a per person basis.

Therefore, for all these reasons, we must all work together to keep marriage between one man and one woman. We can do so by educating the public. To help, please email this post and the link to the essay below to as many people as you can and to your legislators. Additionally, please ask the recipients to do the same, demand that your legislators vote down legislation granting gov't recognition to same-sex behavior, and vote them out of office, if they don't. In this way, we can all work together to keep marriage between one man and one woman, as it should be.

(1) - "The Case for Government Recognition of Traditional Relationships," a short essay summarizing the science and listing the peer-reviewed references on which its based. You'll need to google to read.

Legally recognizing gay marriage will create other problems, besides those presented in my previous post, showing why the demand for this institution is rooted in selfishness and a self-serving desire that's devoid of any care about the damage it will cause.

First, business owners who object to same-sex behavior, based on religious convictions and/or on science (as I am), will be forced against their will and against fact to provide lodging and/or "wedding" - related services to openly gay individuals. Thus such a law will make business owners, who rightfully and justifiably oppose the legal recognition of same-sex behavior, complicit in its promotion.

Further, by legally recognizing gay marriage, the State will require educational curricula that teaches about homosexuality. Indeed, this has happened in other states to children as young as kindergarten! What's worse is that in requiring this curricula, the government becomes complicit in a lie because homosexual behavior is often mischaracterized as a normal and healthy variant of human sexual behavior, when science proves the exact opposite. What's worse yet is how children are in their formative years, when they're vulnerable to believing whatever adults tell them, no matter how wrong it is. Thus, if they should have any genetic/biologic predisposition for homosexuality, such teaching has the capacity to trigger homosexuality in them. If it does, then they will become vulnerable to the litany of medical, psychological, and sociological problems to which homosexuals are more prone that heterosexuals.

Will the social ills caused by legally recognizing gay marriage manifest themselves right away? No - not even in the few years that same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in some states, especially since the media, being dishonestly and heavily biased in favor of gay marriage, will probably not report them. However, they will with time, which is why its so important for the people of this City and of Rhode Island to come to their senses and oppose the legal recognition of gay marriage and urge the legislature to do the same.

The only social ills I see are the disgusting and pious bigots putting their personal hang-ups on gay people. But, please keep posting your nonsense. Our cause is only propelled forward when thinking people see how silly, false, and incoherent the 'arguments' used by marriage equality opponents really are. Civil marriage equality is coming whether you like it or not, because it's the right and constitutional thing to do.

@David64:

If you truly believe that my posts at 11:19AM and 11:39AM on 4/14/13 are "nonsense" or are somehow "bigoted" and "pious," as you so indicate, then you'll have no problem providing a fact-based, point-by-point rebuttal of what I wrote on this comment string and in the essay, "The Case for Limiting Government Recognition to Traditional Relationships," which is linked here:

http:\\marriage-onemanandonewoman.blogspot.com

Further, you'll have no problem doing so, using peer-reviewed references, as I did, originating from major universities and research organizations - none of which oppose gay marriage or gay rights.

If you can't or won't and instead choose to hide behind the intellectually dishonest invective and admoninem attack in your post, then it will only prove what I and millions of others already know, which is that there's no rational, logical, or factual argument in favor of gay marriage, except a selfish and self-serving desire that's devoid of any care about the damage it will cause.

As someone with a gay sister who's commitment ceremony I attended, I remain ambivalent about this issue, as does my sister, btw, who had the ceremony to appease her friends. But I deeply resent the notion that anyone who disagrees with gay marriage is somehow a bigot, hater, homophobe, or a variety of other epithets designed to stifle debate and discussion. There is no one, and I mean no one so intolerant as those on the Tolerant Left. And in the event anyone doubts the radical nature of this movement, one need only to re-read the following post: "YES I am comparing ... Bishop Tobin to the leaders of Al Qaeda." RI proudly embraced the Know Nothing Party in the 1850's, and appears to be going in that direction again with 'tolerance' of open Catholic hatred. Could I tolerate gay marriage? Yes. But is this the first step in a broader demand to embrace a variety of alternative 'relationship' arrangements? Absolutely. Keep in mind, the ACLU used the term "haters" to refer to anyone who disagreed with the agenda of NAMBLA.

Roy I would love to have a REAL dialog with you. But you said nothing, Saying "see my first comment above." to point I made that have NOTHING to do with your first comment is not a dialog, It is a way of showing that you really cannot defend your points

John Stark if you are going to quote me, quote me fully and in context.

Let’s look at my full quote:.

Finally I went on to talk about the scary thing I have noticed over the past 30 years, that we are seeing ONE religious group try to dictate the behavior of ALL citizens based on their doctrine, even if some citizens do not adhere to their dogma. Tobin is a prime example of this. He never comments as a private citizen, which he has every right to do. He always uses his title of "Bishop" when he comments on civil law; This is an attempt to do 2 things.

1 This attempts to make civil law confirm to church law. Forcing all people to follow church law, church members or not.

2. There are members of his church that will go along with him just because of his title. There is a certain element of FEAR here. Tobin uses his title and the mythology of the church even if he does not do so explicitly, to corroces and intimidate his flock.

We have seen these same behaviors in the religious leaders of other countries. They want to force all people to follow church law by making church law civil law. These same leaders use their place of authority and their myths to intimidate members of their faith community. We see this is the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Before anyone asks, YES I am comparing the religious right including Evangelicals and Catholics to the Taliban. YES I am comparing Evangelical leaders and others like Bishop Tobin to the leaders of Al Qaeda. Am I saying we are at the same point they are right NOW? No, not YET. At the same time if we don't keep this in check we WILL end up there.

You took a small portion of my comment out of context. In the full context you see that I am comparing the trend of many leaders of religious groups to use their titles, and positions of authority to manipulate CIVIL leaders into crafting laws based on RELIGIOUS law, so civil law would reflect church law. This would force all citizens, members of a faith community or NOT to live according to one group’s doctrine, mythology and folklore.

My point was that there are other religious groups who demanded that state law reflect religious law. YES, they are the Taliban and Al Qaeda. YOU may not like that comparison, but it still is a legitimate parallel.

Furthermore you edited my quote to make it sound as if I singled out the Catholics. Your edited version reads.

"YES I am comparing ... Bishop Tobin to the leaders of Al Qaeda”

You deliberately left out

” YES I am comparing *THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT INCLUDING **EVANGELICALS And ***Catholics to the Taliban.

* The religious right could be any group including non Christian.

** Evangelicals are mainly Protestant

***and yes I included Catholics and Tobin by name.

I did not single out Catholics as your rewrite made it sound. I was not speaking out against any religion’s right to exist. Rather I was pointing to the fact that religious leaders such as Tobin, but not limited to him, want to use their title of Bishop, Rabi, Reverend, Minister, Priest, Shaman, Prophet, or ANY other Religious leader to lobby to have CIVIL law reflect their religious law, and yes like it or NOT that is Taliban like and a real danger to ALL people.

If you had bothered to take the time to view my testimony you would have heard me talk about protecting the religious liberty of ALL people including Catholics, but we cannot allow one religious community to dictate the behavior of all.

So I stand by my ORIGINAL quote, not your edited version.

@Paul Auger. My point from the very beginning is that the dialog and debate should have taken place at the council committee hearing.

Paul: You said: "YES I am comparing the religious right including Evangelicals and Catholics to the Taliban. YES I am comparing Evangelical leaders and others like Bishop Tobin to the leaders of Al Qaeda." I'd say that's in appropriate context. And Yes, there is clearly an open anti-Catholic theme that weaves it's way through this entire movement. How many drag queens do we need to see dressed as priests and nuns at "Gay Pride" parades to arrive at this conclusion?

John I don’t know if you are missing my point or if you are just choosing not to hear it, I have a feeling that it is the later. Let me say it one more time religious organizations, much like the Taliban and Al Qaida, are lobbing to alien civil law to their particular religious doctrine or teachings. This therefore forces all citizens to follow church law, even if that are not members of that faith community. This behavior the act of forcing all citizens to follow church law by using civil law is Taliban behavior.

This has nothing to do with drag queens or anything else. Please respond to to the point that many religious leaders are using the CIVIL law to force all people to follow their religious law. How is that not Taliban like?

Please don’t dodge or duck the issue as you and Roy are so good at doing.

Roy you and those who agree with you had every chance to debate and dialog at the meeting. It is no fault that your side had little representation your side failed to bring them out or perhaps as I said before you have much fewer among your members than you think.

I pointed out several issues each time you failed to address them head on rather you threw up smoke screens I keep bringing up these issues knowing that you will failed to directly address them, because by doing show you help strengthen my augments.

Here are some of the issues I brought up and you danced around let see if you can answer them head on.

Which specific terms being thrown out at the meeting confused you?

How is it that others like committee, who clearly have took more time to research the so called rules of the game and the pro and cons than you have are not confused?

Why should we wait for you to catch up to the rest of us to make a decision?

How specifically does the fact that there were more people on the pro side then the con sides of the issue at the meeting mean that the issue was not being spoken about in a “balanced way?

Would you have made the same point if the turnout was the opposite?

Both sides had the same amount of time to let their people know about the meeting. Is it mot possible that one side simply did a better job of organizing and getting people out than the other? If so how is that the commuties fault? Where does the con side play a role in this? Are you telling me that organizations like NOM lack the skills and resourses to bring out large crowds of people?

Could it be that the crowd at Warwick meeting reflect the population of the city? Could it be that you wrongly believed you were in the majority and the turn out at the meeting made you face the fact that you are part of the ever shrinking minority?

Many people have done the research and have found the pros and cons for themselves they did the hard work needed to form an opinion. You have admitted that you failed to do that work. That being the case, why must the city’s decision making must sink to the level of the lowest common denominator when it comes to empirical data about the issue? In this case it seems that you are self admittedly the least educated among us about the issue, despite the fact that you could have used Google to get all sorts of data, or could drive across state lines in to Connecticut, or Mass or any other New England state to gather information.

In your testimony you single out Catholic marriages, this suggest that the only valid marriages are Catholic marriages. Are you discounting all marriages that are not between Catholics or those that took place before the Catholic Church was established?

How would you explain Solomon’s MANY wives in the light of so called “traditional marriage”?

Did you read the proposed law? How do you explain the flowing in the light of your question about the impact of the law on churches?

“This act would allow any two (2) individuals, who are otherwise eligible under chapter 15-1, to marry regardless of gender, while protecting the freedom of religious institutions to make their own decisions regarding marriage eligibility within their own faith’s tradition, without interference from the state. This act would also prohibit any state agency or local government from penalizing any clergy for refusing to solemnize a marriage under this chapter”.

Why should a businesses owned by the Church not be subject to the same laws that any other secular business would be?

Why should there be ANOTHER meeting about this matter

? Why should we forget everything we heard that night? Why should everyone come back? Why do you get a “do over” just because you lost?

Paul: First, no one is "...using the CIVIL law to force all people to follow their religious law." I do not recall BIshop Tobin lobbying the GA for meatless Fridays during lent, mandatory Mass attendance for all Rhode Islanders, or mandatory baptisms for all newborns in RI. If he did, you would have a point. In contrast the Bishop's first ammendment rights do not end when he dons the Roman collar. For whatever reason, you do not seem to be 'alarmed' that other religious leaders who traditionally lean left, are using their pulpit to endorse the other side of this issue. Where's the outrage? When you express 'deep concerns' about Rev. Betsy Arland Garland using her ministry to endorse homosexual marriage, I'll begin to listen.

And I will stick by my broader point. There is, indeed, a glaring, but largely unspoken element of anti-Catholic bigotry in this movement as exemplified by the drag queens-as-priests, gay disruptions of Mass, etc. The movement has, historically, sought to behave in a reckless manner and then blame everyone in sight (e.g. the Catholic Church) for unintended consequences (e.g. AIDS). But fear not, Paul, no one's going to demand that you go to Confession.

John once again you failed to check your sources, of you had bothered to take the time to view my testimony you would have hear me say several things.

First you would have heard me ask the committee to dismiss ANY theological augment on either side pro or con. I made the point that this was not a theological debate but a legal one. I said that it was inappropriate for any side to give testimony based on doctrine

I also said that we need to protect the religious liberty of ALL, not just some. Since the bill has the protection of the religious liberties of those who do not want to perform same gender marriages already written into it to cry wolf about having their religious liberties in jeopardy in nothing but a straw man.

The bill clearly states that “This act would allow any two (2) individuals, who are otherwise eligible under chapter 15-1, to marry regardless of gender, while protecting the freedom of religious institutions to make their own decisions regarding marriage eligibility within their own faith’s tradition, without interference from the state. This act would also prohibit any state agency or local government from penalizing any clergy for refusing to solemnize a marriage under this chapter”. So it would have NO impact on the church.

However to forbid those who hold the sincerely held religious belief that all couples have the right in the eyes of god to be married, including same gender couples to follow that religious conviction clearly is a violation of their religious liberties.

In addition if you bothered to listen to my testimony you would have heard me say that the bishop or any other religious leader has every right to testify as a private citizen. However it is inappropriate for them to speak as the mouth piece or on behalf of whatever religious institution they represent. In fact I would love to see someone challenge their tax exempt status basses on the fact that they are lobbing for one side or the other. We could use the extra funding.

As to your augment that religious leaders are not using the legal system to force religious law on people through civil law you clearly have not listened to their testimony if you had you will know that the testimony offered by religious leaders is always based on their holy book, doctrine and other aspects of their religion. (note I did not point out one religion), therefore they ARE using civil law to require others to behave according to their doctrine .

I do support Rev. Betsy Arland Garland’s right to speak about her personal experience as a person who had to struggle to have her same sex marriage legally recognized. I do NOT support her using her doctrine or title to speak on behalf of her church to influence civil law. Again if you take the time to look at my testimony I said the same about the bishop, I even said I would come to his aid if his religious freedom was in jeopardy,

Has anybody heard from Roy? I asked him some questions and was waiting with baited breath for his answers. . .

So what have we learned here folks? If we hold the religious right responsible for backing their statements with documentation they cant do it. If we hold them accountable for the things they say they will run and hide, If they cant answer your points directly they will throw up more smoke and mirrors than David Coperfiled.. Thanks for helping me prove these points Reality, Roy and John! Have a great day and I will chat with you after we pass Marriage Equality.

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