By Gudrun Schultz
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, February 27, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Attorney General Patrick Lynch effectively imposed legal recognition of same-sex unions on the state of Rhode Island last week when he issued a letter calling for the recognition of homosexual unions performed in Massachusetts.
Lynch’s sister is lesbian—one week before issuing the letter, the attorney general attended the same-sex “marriage” of his sister and her partner in Massachusetts. Pro-family groups have said the situation is a clear conflict of interest on Lynch’s part and amounts to an abuse of power.
“This abuse of power should sound the alarm for Rhode Island’s pro-family voters and spark a movement to introduce a marriage protection amendment so that the state’s position on marriage is no longer in doubt,” Americans For Truth said in a statement.
Lynch denied that his personal interests were at play in the decision, saying his sister’s situation had “zero impact” on his decision to offer support to homosexual unions. While Lynch’s letter is a non-binding opinion, it will carry significant weight in the state. Many state agencies are expected to begin recognition of same-sex unions based on the attorney general’s explicit approval of the move.
Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin, of Providence, RI, spoke out against Lynch’s move and accused the attorney general of allowing himself to be swayed by homosexual activists, Catholic World News reported Feb.26.
“It is clear that the attorney general’s thinking on this issue has been influenced by the relentless gay agenda so prevalent in our state,” Bishop Tobin said.
He pointed out that Lynch made his announcement on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Catholic penitential season of Lent, and said the move toward recognition of same-sex unions “has given us another reason to repent of our sins.”
Massachusetts’ Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly ruled that the state should grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples from Rhode Island, in a decision released last October. At the time, Lynch said the ruling would not change Rhode Island’s prohibition against homosexual “marriage”.
“This ruling does not authorize same-sex marriages in Rhode Island, and it does not mean that Rhode Island will recognize a same-sex marriage performed in Massachusetts,” Lynch said in a statement.
While Rhode Island’s marriage laws use the terms “bride” and “groom” in defining marriage, the state does not have a constitutional amendment in place that specifically prohibits homosexual “marriage.”
See related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Activist Mass. Judge Grants Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Rhode Island Couples