Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, is urging state lawmakers to defeat civil union legislation in Rhode Island. The Providence Journal reports:
In a statement, Tobin said: "I encourage members of the General Assembly to vote against the civil unions legislation currently being considered. It is an unpopular and last minute attempt at a compromise that satisfies no one and accomplishes little.
"The civil unions legislation itself is objectionable since it serves as a gateway to same-sex marriage, thus guaranteeing that this divisive debate will continue in our State well into the future.
"The civil unions legislation under consideration has no protection for freedom of conscience or religious practice for individuals or institutions who oppose this challenge to traditional moral values.
"Further, it is important to note that the legislation itself is discriminatory since it provides certain legal rights only to those in same-sex relationships that mimic marriage while ignoring the needs of many other Rhode Islanders. The Diocese of Providence urges the consideration of 'reciprocal benefits legislation' that will be helpful to Rhode Islanders without reference to marriage and without compromising the traditional understanding of marriage and family in our society."