Bishop: Chafee's veto threat 'undemocratic'


The leader of Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic Diocese says Gov. Lincoln Chafee is wrong to threaten to veto legislation that would put same-sex marriage to a popular vote.

Bishop Thomas Tobin released a statement Friday calling Chafee’s veto threat “undemocratic.”

Tobin said it should be up to residents to decide whether Rhode Island joins the rest of New England in allowing same-sex marriage.

Chafee said Thursday he’s inclined to veto legislation that would place same-sex marriage on the ballot as a referendum and wants lawmakers to pass it themselves.

Opponents have suggested putting the question before voters, but supporters say the issue is one of civil rights and shouldn’t be decided by a referendum.

The House said it will hold a hearing on a same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday.  A committee vote has not been scheduled.

House Speaker Gordon Fox has said he would like the House to vote on gay marriage by the end of January. The legislation is expected to pass the House but its chances in the Senate are uncertain.

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