In his inaugural address last week, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee declared his support for marriage equality in the state.
In response, the National Organization for Marriage’s state affiliate has decided to launch a $100,000 ad campaign against him, claiming that Chafee is an “accidental governor” who has no mandate to “impose” marriage equality on the state:
“Lincoln Chafee got just 36% of the vote in the recent election, and fewer popular votes than the Cool Moose Party’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor,” said Christopher Plante, Executive Director of NOM-RI. “Our message is that getting 36% of the vote is no mandate to redefine the institution of marriage for all of Rhode Island society.”
Chafee signaled in his inaugural address last week that imposing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is a top priority, and called on the legislature to move quickly to enact it. He opposes giving Rhode Islanders the right to vote on marriage, even though public opinion polls show that 80% of voters want the right to decide this issue themselves.
“80% of Rhode Islanders want the chance to vote on marriage, just as voters in 31 other states have done,” the ad states. It calls on Rhode Islanders to call Chafee’s office, and that of House Speaker Fox and Senate President Paiva-Weed to express their views.
“In some ways, Lincoln Chafee is an accidental governor for Rhode Island, elected in the most unusual of circumstances,” Plante said. “Yet he expects legislators to follow him off the cliff in pursuit of same-sex marriage. This is what happened in neighboring New Hampshire and before that in Maine. In both those states, politicians who followed their so-called leaders have been replaced with pro-marriage legislators and same-sex marriage has been repealed, or is on its way to being repealed. In Iowa, three judges who voted to impose same-sex marriage were summarily thrown out of office by voters. If legislators in Rhode Island wish to redefine marriage, they should put this issue on the ballot where the people themselves can decide if they wish to abandon one of the most fundamental institutions of society.”