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Bishop: R.I. should hold off on marriage equality bill until Supreme Court rules

Bishop: R.I. should hold off on marriage equality bill until Supreme Court rules

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic leader said Wednesday that state lawmakers should hold off on acting on a marriage equality bill while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the issue.

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Bishop Thomas Tobin, a gay marriage opponent, issued a statement advising that any action on marriage taken by the General Assembly could be rendered “null and void” by the Supreme Court’s ruling later this year.

“In light of the historic deliberations of the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage, it would be appropriate for the General Assembly of Rhode Island to defer any action on this critical issue for the time being.

“Any legislative action that is taken now could very well be rendered completely null and void by the decision of the Supreme Court expected this June. It is likely that the Supreme Court will decide this matter for us, one way or another.

“Let’s wait to see what the highest court of the land says about this issue which is so very important to many Rhode Islanders.”

Rev. Gene Dyszlewski, leader of a coalition of clerics supporting gay marriage, said Tobin is using the Supreme Court’s deliberations on same-sex marriage as a “delay tactic,” and any ruling by the high court would not affect the legislation under consideration in Rhode Island.

A marriage equality bill has passed Rhode Island’s House but has not received a vote in the Senate.

Rhode Island is the only New England state where same-sex marriage is not yet legal.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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