Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox
on Wednesday met with students protesting his decision to alter
course from marriage to civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, the
Citing insufficient support, Fox
declared a gay marriage bill stuck in committee in the Legislature
dead. Fox, an openly gay Democrat, announced he'll alter course and
back a civil unions bill instead.
About 20 members of the group Rhode
Island Students for Equality protested the move in front of Fox's
“I have been in a domestic
partnership for 11 years. I have lived it,” Fox told the crowd.
“And I am not stepping back one iota from my belief that marriage
equality is what Rhode Island needs. But I have to balance that with
what we can achieve now.”
“I am the Speaker of the House and I
am an openly gay man. This is very emotional for me,” he added.
“But as speaker, I understand counting votes and what I can deliver
for all of us. And I believe I am delivering right to us today and
it's not killing the cause.”
Many of the students urged Fox to
reverse course, arguing that approving civil unions would “put
discrimination in our laws.”