All eyes are now on Rhode Island, where House Speaker Gordon Fox is claiming he has the votes to pass a gay marriage bill through the House. Right. This is the same politician who promised to quickly pass a gay marriage bill through the House in February, and then suddenly pulled the bill after a massive outpouring of opposition. Now, he's waiting for the Senate to act first, he said.
Last Thursday the Rhode Island Senate had hearings. But here's a subtle point: Instead of posting a “hearing and consideration” for the gay marriage bill, the Senate judiciary committee held just a hearing. “That’s a message to the House, this bill is going nowhere,” predicts our own NOM-Rhode Island executive director Christopher Plante.
The senate hearings were jammed and our folks outnumbered theirs by at least two-to-one, thanks to an extraordinary, underreported event: the huge turnout of the Hispanic church.
At least 200 Hispanic evangelicals showed up, under the leadership of the Hispanic Pastoral Association of Rhode Island.
Standing on the second floor balcony overlooking the rotunda, Chris Plante ran into one of the leading Hispanic pastors. Chris reports, “I thanked him for coming and bringing so many people; he stopped me and said ‘No, it's a privilege to be here. We have a strong commitment to marriage and family values.'”
The Hispanic Pastoral Association of Rhode Island also brought 5,500 signatures on a petition asking legislators to vote “no” on gay marriage.
“What really turned the tide for us in the Senate hearings was the Hispanic church,” reports Chris. “They really changed the dynamic of the gay marriage debate last week, coming out in large numbers; they even held their own rally.”
Here's the video of the prayer rally they held:
The press may not have noticed, but the legislators sure did.
We got this note from Father Healey, who is Bishop Tobin's man in the Rhode Island legislature, after the hearing:
“Chairman McCaffrey called me this morning and said he was impressed with our turn-out. He noted that Senator Jabour was very happy to see so many Hispanics against it. “
No-one could ever recall such a strong, unified Hispanic church presence before. This is really a new and historic development for Rhode Island.
Hearing about it from Chris, I was reminded of the young mother who came to NOM's Summer for Marriage rally in Albany (the one who was hassled as she tried to nurse her baby).
Take a look at that video again, and see the determination on the face of that young mother:
The true rainbow coalition is ours: people of every race, creed and color coming together in love to stand up for God's truth about marriage.
Speaker Gordon Fox now claims he has the votes to pass gay marriage. He doesn't yet. But it's very, very close in the House.
Rhode Islanders, keep the calls and emails coming!