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Sen. Nesselbush: "Today is so important, I even wore a dress."
April 24, 2013 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Rhode Island is about to vote to become the 10th state (and last state in New England) to enact marriage equality with the unanimous support of the State Senate Republicans.

In March, Rhode Island's governor, Lincoln Chafee, published this op-ed in the Providence Journal, endorsing marriage for all couples.

The bill has already passed the House, and will head for the governor's desk. A proposed amendment to allow for a referendum vote in the fall failed, 10-28.

Said Senator Crowley:"This won't change my life one bit.. but it will change the lives of so many people [who want to marry]"

The new marriage equality bill follows after at least nine years of hard work by organizations such as RI United for Marriage and GLAD. A marriage equality bill has been introduced in RI every year since 1997.

Look for Delaware to be next.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (36 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heck yes, New England!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:29 PM on April 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


.

I am sure something is dead here, but I don't know what it is.
Could it be the old way of thinking, living, treating each other?
Hey, with every new death, stems a new life.
posted by It is better for you not to know. at 2:29 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would like to see this progress charted, because it really does feel exponential.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:31 PM on April 24, 2013


Is it weird that I find the most remarkable thing about this to be unanimous support from State Senate Republicans, not same-sex marriage itself?

And:

"15-1-4. Marriages of kindred allowed by Jewish religion. -- The provisions of sections
1 15-1-1 -- 15-1-3 15-1-2 and 15-1-3 shall not extend to, or in any way affect, any marriage which
2 shall be solemnized among the Jewish people, within the degrees of affinity or consanguinity
3 allowed by their religion."


Who knew Rhode Island had a special exception for incestuous Jewish marriages?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:32 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


New England: the one place where Republicans really do support individual rights.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:33 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


What happens if the Supreme Court rules that marriage equality is unconstitutional? Do the states that have equality laws have to unmake those laws?
posted by tzikeh at 2:34 PM on April 24, 2013


What happens if the Supreme Court rules that marriage equality is unconstitutional? Do the states that have equality laws have to unmake those laws?

If Prop 8 stands, states could continue to make laws that allow or ban same-sex marriage. The NYTimes has a good flowchart that explains what happens next, given different rulings.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on April 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I would like to see this progress charted, because it really does feel exponential.

Nate has charted it and more (slnyt).
posted by Walleye at 2:39 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


What happens if the Supreme Court rules that marriage equality is unconstitutional? Do the states that have equality laws have to unmake those laws?

Basically no one is seriously arguing that states giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The question is whether a) it's obligatory (with subquestions of whether the answer is different for all states vs just Cali) and b) whether the feds can pick and choose among state-granted marriages.

So no, in other words.
posted by PMdixon at 2:43 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And it passes, 26-12!
posted by HumuloneRanger at 2:47 PM on April 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


!
posted by drezdn at 3:05 PM on April 24, 2013


Small change, they will have to reconcile it again in the House due to small changes in the religious protections.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:06 PM on April 24, 2013


This news gladdens me. I'm not sure I'm Proud to Be From the Northeast, but I'm glad more and more of the country is seeing reason at last.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:13 PM on April 24, 2013


I would like to see this progress charted, because it really does feel exponential.

/begin pedantry/ This would mean that the number of states passing equal marriage provisions follows (roughly) a formula

(# states with equal marriage) = C e^{r*t}

with C, r constants and t = time. Exponential =/= increasing rate of change.

An quick-ish way to find out if any particular rate of growth that you are interested in is exponential is to make a list, eg:

time (year) | state passing equal marriage
---------------------------------------------------------
11/2003 | MA
10/2008 | CT
4/2009 | IA
9/2009 | VT
12/2009 | DC
1/2010 | NH
7/2011 | NY
11/2012 | ME
12/2012 | WA
1/2013 | MD

or some variant of this depending on if you want to include states that allow civil unions, or recognize same-sex marriage from other jurisdictions, or if you want to include the three Native American tribes that recognize same-sex marriage (Coquille Tribe, OR, 5/2008; Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,MI, 3/2013; Suquamish Tribe, WA, 8/2011).

Now let's turn this into some numerical data. Our independent variable is time, t, and let's count in months, starting with t=0 being November, 2003. Our dependent variable is the number of states where same-sex marriage is fully legal.

time (months since 11/2003) | # states with same-sex marriage total
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 | 1
59 | 2
65 | 3
70 | 4
73 | 5
75 | 6
81 | 7
97 | 8
98 | 9
99 | 10

So this gives us some data points, which we could graph. But I can't include fancy graphs in this comment, so let's add in some data points to make things a little clearer. Let's make a table including standardized time intervals.

t (months since 11/2003) | # states with equal marriage
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 | 1
.
.
.
59 | 2
60 | 2
61 | 2
62 | 2
63 | 2
64 | 2
65 | 3
66 | 3
.
.
.

You get the picture. It'll be a long list. Basically, the # states with equal marriage (let's call this M) will be growing exponentially if the difference between consecutive values keeps being multiplied by (roughly) the same constant.

Very simple example of exponential growth:
t (years, why not) | M (? who knows, it's just a made-up example)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 | 1
0.1 | 2
0.2 | 4
0.3 | 8
0.4 | 16
0.5 | 32

In our case it will be easier to look at the numbers in reverse in some sense. If M = C e^{r*t}, then t = ln(M/C) / r. So let's look at the time difference between the first and second state legalizing same-sex marriage, then the time difference between the second and third state, etc.

difference step | time difference (in months)
-----------------------------------------------------------
1 | 59
2 | 6
3 | 5
4 | 3
5 | 2
6 | 6
7 | 16
8 | 1
9 | 1

If M is growing exponentially with time, we would expect the difference in time to be decreasing logarithmically, which means there should be some constant, let's call it a, with a>1, such that each time difference is roughly 1/a times the previous time difference. Roughly. So let's look. 6 is about 1/10 of 59. But 5 is about the same as 6. 3 is about 1/2 of 5, but 2 is about the same as 3. 6 is larger than 2, then 16 - so we had an interruption of our general trend of increasing rate of passage of same-sex marriage laws. But then things speed up significantly this past year: 1 is 1/16 of 16, though the next time difference is also 1, which is about the same.

Maybe it would be better to look at time in years since 2003 instead of months. But you could do roughly the same sort of analysis. It doesn't look to me, offhand, like the rate of number of states adopting equal marriage is growing exponentially. But it seems to come in exciting clusters. Regardless of the particular formula modeling this change, it is a great thing! :)

/end pedantry/

posted by eviemath at 3:35 PM on April 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


PMdixon: Basically no one is seriously arguing that states giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The question is whether a) it's obligatory (with subquestions of whether the answer is different for all states vs just Cali) and b) whether the feds can pick and choose among state-granted marriages.

So no, in other words.


Okay, but if this can be categorized as "different for all states," what happens to a couple who live in, and are married in, Massachusetts, and a few years down the line move to Arizona? Under Article IV, Arizona would have to recognize their marriage as legally binding, yet Arizona specifically prohibits the marriage of two people of the same sex both by law and by state Constitution.

I'm not a Constitutional scholar, or a lawyer; I'm just a citizen who tries her best to stay current on How It All Works, so this one baffles me. Could someone with more background and specialized knowledge tell me what happens then?
posted by tzikeh at 4:03 PM on April 24, 2013


tzikeh, here's a pretty good examination of the constitutional issues: the short answer is that Article IV doesn't apply the way you think it does.
posted by yoink at 4:27 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks, yoink!
posted by tzikeh at 4:34 PM on April 24, 2013


I am sure something is dead here, but I don't know what it is. Could it be the old way of thinking, living, treating each other? Hey, with every new death, stems a new life.
Someone skipped the Grimes thread.
posted by fullerine at 4:49 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a rare day when I am not ashamed of the RI state government. Yet here I am.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:11 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Several hours later and this thread with such great news has only 19 comments. States going equal is getting to be such old hat it's hardly even noteworthy.

Yay.

=
posted by alms at 7:26 PM on April 24, 2013


I was thinking pretty much exactly that, alms.

Way to go, RI!
posted by rtha at 7:53 PM on April 24, 2013


Several hours later and this thread with such great news has only 19 comments. States going equal is getting to be such old hat it's hardly even noteworthy.

Yay.

=
posted by alms at 7:26 PM on April 24 [+] [!]


There was significantly less nail biting in this thread than the other equality threads. In those threads, there was discussion about who would vote in which way, the lead up in the state politically, polls, polls, polls, and so on, and then the vote. This was posted, and was passed about twenty minutes later.

But great news all the same! Couldn't be happier. On to the next state!
posted by gc at 8:15 PM on April 24, 2013


There's something about this rolling snowball that seems to mark a turning-point in human history. Wish I could put a finger on it. Feels something like, xenophobia is disappearing like smallpox and polio.
posted by Twang at 9:17 PM on April 24, 2013


First, yay.

Second, the length of this thread so far indicates that this is unremarkable.

Third, yay for the second!

And the only thing the Supreme Court will be asked that might be interesting is if other states are required to recognize other states sanctions of marriage. Traditionally states have, but these are different, except they're not, right, wait, what's the law, let's ask somebody, hence Supreme Court.

But once they rule other states must recognize(homosexual spouse due to marriage in another state) as eligible for all benefits, which includes health care benefits, then this is all over.But good on New Hampshire anway. It's good work.
posted by dglynn at 9:54 PM on April 24, 2013


I would like to see this progress charted, because it really does feel exponential.

I was somewhat curious about this at the country level, so I made a spreadsheet. Not counting subnational regions (like states), with the approvals this year or coming this year of Uruguay, New Zealand, and France, over 300M people live in countries where same-sex marriage is legal. In the US, adding RI puts the US over 50M people (which you could add to the above if you like, as well as a few other places in e.g. Brazil).

I think it's interesting that there seems to be in both lists a tendency toward smaller governmental units, e.g. countries or states -- only five countries are larger than 20M and only five states larger than 5M. That may just reflect a bell curve in both lists, but I don't think the US states are reflective of the overall curve of the states and I think that's interesting. Maybe it's harder to do this in a small state, and maybe the number of New England states is a similar function, in that you can't sell out your neighbor that easily versus "those people" in "that city".
posted by dhartung at 12:18 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Several hours later and this thread with such great news has only 19 comments. States going equal is getting to be such old hat it's hardly even noteworthy.

Also, unless you live in RI, you probably don't have a very clear idea where it is or if it's even a state. So it's confusing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:03 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really really love the beach at Watch Hill. So, now there's two things I love about Rhode Island! Yay!
posted by kinnakeet at 5:43 AM on April 25, 2013


Is it weird that I find the most remarkable thing about this to be unanimous support from State Senate Republicans, not same-sex marriage itself?

Well, Republicans from other more conservative parts of the country would probably consider these guys to be Democrats for all practical purposes. I guess they are usually fiscally conservative though?
posted by smackfu at 5:50 AM on April 25, 2013


Gordon Fox, the Speaker of the R.I. House of Representatives, has been promising to bring up this bill for several years now. It's personal with him, and he has just said that it will be voted on in the House next week:
http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2013/04/house-speaker-fox-kaers.html

Pretty cool.

Rhode Island is still a very Roman Catholic society, and the bishop here helped knock the bill out last time. But there's people pushing for it now just to bring back the wedding business that has been bled off by all the surrounding states who already passed a similar bill: our nearly-10% unemployment and newly-dark downtown skyline may now have more sway than social forces.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:26 AM on April 25, 2013


Is it weird that I find the most remarkable thing about this to be unanimous support from State Senate Republicans, not same-sex marriage itself?

A weird thing about RI is that it's solidly Democrat state, but often elects Republicans (or recently, Lincoln Chaffee, who was a Republican) as governor.

*shrug* What can I say? They're complicated people.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:28 AM on April 25, 2013


Gordon Fox, the Speaker of the R.I. House of Representatives, has been promising to bring up this bill for several years now. It's personal with him...

Sortof, although it took him a really damn long time for no apparent reason except political ambition. Honestly, dude was Speaker of the House for several years -- where the House was ALWAYS the major roadblock to gay marriage -- amidst enthusiastic support from the governor. Not to be a drag, but the only thing that makes this remarkable is just how bad the advocates and politicians botched the job for so many years in a row.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:51 AM on April 25, 2013


Not to be a drag....

I see what you did there.


likeatoaster, I have no argument that Fox could have pushed harder on this in the past. Though in this state, I am not sure how much better the results would have been compared to doing nothing!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:13 AM on April 25, 2013


I decided to look up some statistics on this. The Rhode Island Senate has 38 senators, 32 Democrats, 5 Republicans, 1 Independent.
The vote swung 26-12 in favor of passage.
The 5 Republicans voted in favor.
The 1 Independent voted against.
The Democrats split 21-11 in favor.
Interestingly, the President of the Senate, President pro Tempore and Majority Leader, the top 3 democratic positions, all voted against.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:59 AM on April 25, 2013


Wonderful news.
posted by orange swan at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2013


A weird thing about RI is that it's solidly Democrat state, but often elects Republicans (or recently, Lincoln Chaffee, who was a Republican) as governor.

Well, there used to be this thing known as the liberal and/or Rockefeller Republican (after Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, not an imputation of their own wealth). They were everywhere in the Northeast and they regularly got sent to Washington. That was a time when there were many conservative Democrats, as well, and there were many policy overlaps. The growing split between the parties has all but eliminated both breeds at the national level, but the people are still electable back home.

Also, unless you live in RI, you probably don't have a very clear idea where it is or if it's even a state. So it's confusing.

What's more, it's not even an island (at least 80% of it is mainland)! And the island is usually called Aquidneck!

In conclusion, Rhode Island is a land of contrasts.
posted by dhartung at 2:36 PM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


And Delaware is now #11.

The Minnesota House votes on Thursday. If the bill passes the House (and the Speaker thinks it will) it will likely pass the Senate. The Governor has said he will sign. So, fingers crossed.
posted by Area Man at 2:59 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


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