National Organization for Marriage Urges Rhode Island Senators to Reject Legislation Redefining Marriage


Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Jen Campbell (703-683-5004)

National Organization for Marriage

"Rhode Island voters deserve the right to vote on marriage just as voters in 35 other states have been able to do." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

Providence, RI — The National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island today urged state Senators to reject legislation redefining marriage and instead allow voters to determine the definition of marriage in Rhode Island. The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed two bills redefining marriage (SB 38, HB 5015) but narrowly failed to pass legislation allowing voters to determine the issue (SB 708).

"Marriage has served Rhode Island well since statehood and policymakers should not act unilaterally to redefine this foundational institution of society," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "Rhode Island voters deserve the right to vote on marriage just as voters in 35 other states have been able to do. We urge Senators not to redefine marriage and instead let the people vote."

The Senate Judiciary Committee defeated SB 708 on a 5-6 vote while passing SB 38 and HB 5015 redefining marriage. A recent statewide public opinion survey found that 78% of Rhode Island voters want the right to vote on the definition of marriage in the state.

"Now is the time for Rhode Island citizens to contact state Senators to tell them to let the people vote on marriage," said Scott T. Spear, a member of NOM Rhode Island's Advisory Board. "Rarely do nearly 80% of Rhode Islanders agree on a political issue, but that is the size of the overwhelming majority of voters who want the right to vote on marriage. The issue before state Senators is who gets to decide. We call on them to let the people vote."

NOM asked Rhode Island Senators not to undefine marriage and rip it from its historic roots to child-rearing, warning that when this has happened elsewhere, religious groups, small businesses and individuals have suffered.

"Marriage is intrinsically the union of a man and a woman and has been for thousands of years" Brown said. "When the definition of marriage has been changed elsewhere, we have seen countless examples of people being punished if they do not abandon their deeply-held beliefs that marriage is and can only be the union of a man and a woman. Wedding professionals have been fined, small businesses have been sued, church groups have lost their tax exemptions and religious-based charities have closed down, unable to compromise their beliefs about the true nature of marriage. Rhode Island risks these types of consequences if Senators vote to impose same-sex 'marriage.' The so-called religious liberty protections in SB 38 and HB 5015 are grossly inadequate and provide no protections at all for individuals or small businesses. These misguided bills should be defeated."


To schedule an interview with Scott T. Spear, Advisory Board member of NOM Rhode Island or Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Jen Campbell (x145), [email protected], at 703-683-5004.

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