Rhode Island

R.I. bishop switches from Democrat to Republican over gay marriage, abortion

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Bishop Thomas Tobin

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Roman Catholic bishop of Providence says he has become a registered Republican.

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Bishop Thomas Tobin spoke Tuesday night at a meeting of Rhode Island‘s Young Republicans.

He says made the decision to switch his party affiliation from Democrat after the 2012 Democratic national convention, because he could not be associated with that party’s views on abortion and same-sex marriage.

He expressed disappointment with many Catholic politicians and said they “let us down” by allowing gay marriage to become law in Rhode Island. He also called the law a personal failure for him.

Prior to Rhode Island legalizing same-sex marriage on May 2, Tobin warned that doing so would be a “grave risk to our spiritual well being and the common good.”

In a pastoral letter issued the same day Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the measure into law, said Catholics are not free to “endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior,” and advised against attending any gay weddings.

The bishop defended his political activism, saying he takes the teachings of the church and applies them to current issues.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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