Judge Refuses Injunction to Stop RI Marriage Law

As of Thursday, gay couples could get married in Rhode Island, the result of its legislature legalizing it by a huge margin (56-15) and the governor signing it. One of that state’s bigots filed a lawsuit asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction to stop it, but his motion was denied.

A Superior Court judge on Tuesday denied a request for a temporary restraining order that sought to prevent same-sex marriages from becoming legal on August 1.

Judge Daniel Procaccini denied the request by Ronald L’Heureux, cofounder of a faith-based group that opposed this year’s passage of same-sex marriage, saying L’Heureux had fallen “far short” of the criteria needed to obtain a temporary restraining order, said courts spokesman Craig Berke.

His argument, apparently, is that same-sex marriage will “violate religious freedoms guaranteed by the state Constitution, forcing people to accept, in public spheres such as schools, a practice that they oppose based on their faith.” Bad argument. Almost everything taught in schools conflicts with someone’s faith. You couldn’t even teach that the earth was round if the criteria was that it would conflict with someone’s religious beliefs.

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  • Lofty

    Haha to the bigots, yay!

  • exdrone

    I think there is a typo in the motion. L’Heureux was trying to argue that the law violates the freedom of fundamentalist christians to impose their beliefs on others. He might have been better off going with a trademark/copyright type argument. L’Heureux is French for “happy”. So he could have argued that he was in a legal position to deny others’ happiness. That seems to be his goal after all.

  • Draken

    I dedicate to this man the The Ballad of the Happy People.

  • Michael Heath

    Because so many of us defectively define what is and what is not a right, rather then instead look how government should act in light of the uncountable number of inalienable rights we own, we see such defective arguments. The fact is, gay marriage does infringe upon the religious freedom rights of some religious bigots. But only sets the stage for an evaluation, it’s far from the mark needed to make a decision.

    The crux of the issue is whose rights will be the government protect and allow the free exercise thereof, the bigots or gays and their families? Rhode Island now takes the only effectively defensible position; it protects the rights of gays to marry, in spite of how that infringes upon bigots and some of their rights.

    The Prop. 8 case in front Judge Walker revealed the absurdity of Christians claiming their rights were violated. I.e. those violations pale in comparison to the utility of protecting the rights of gays and their families. These Christians have a right to hate and be bigots, but that doesn’t quite match up to our inalienable individual right to marry. A right we should demand the government protect for each of us, not forbid.

  • whheydt

    Looks like he failed to find one of the “activist judges” the nutcases are always complaining about.

  • coraxyn

    AHA! Earth is not round – it is oblate spheroid!

  • thascius

    @4 The only “rights” the opponents of gay marriage are being denied is the right to impose their beliefs on those who do not share them. Whether positively through having their religious beliefs enshrined in law or negatively through being allowed to discriminate against those who do not live according to their (the bigots’) beliefs. When the government refuses to recognize the fundamentalist’s opposite sex marriages or tries to force them to marry someone of the same sex, they can argue that gay marriage infringes their religious freedom. Not until then.

  • hunter

    Michael Heath @4:

    I don’t think that legalizing same-sex marriage can be counted on as an infringement of anyone’s right to religious freedom. What it does do is preclude them from using the machinery of the state to enforce their beliefs on the populace as a whole. I think that falls under the Establishment Clause.

  • Michael Heath

    thascius writes:

    The only “rights” the opponents of gay marriage are being denied is the right to impose their beliefs on those who do not share them

    I continue to argue we should never misconstrue rights. That’s given the unfortunate reality that even liberals predominately don’t understand the source and assignment of our rights. I.e., rights are in reference to our own behavior, not the behavior of others. Yes, I see the scare quotes and get it, but we’re not ready for that, even in this venue where I constantly see people claiming so and so doesn’t have a right to [insert right here].

    Secondly, the bigots are experiencing an infringement on their rights; so your assertion is false. For example, there are bigoted employers operating in certain localities where it’s now illegal for them to discriminate against gays. I for one both celebrate that reality and yearn for far more infringing as government increasingly begins to protect the far greater rights of gays and their families.

  • Michael Heath

    hunter writes:

    I don’t think that legalizing same-sex marriage can be counted on as an infringement of anyone’s right to religious freedom.

    See my prior quote for one example that’s already in practice today, e.g., Traverse City, MI put such a ban in place. The religious freedom rights of conservative Christians bigots when it comes to their employment practices are not protected in that small city, instead the city protects the rights of gays.

    While not directly related to religious freedom; probably, hopefully, the fiercest future battle between conservative Christians and the state will come when more people like me will demand that churches lose their tax exempt status if they discriminate against gays and females as they do now.

    Currently gay marriage rights passed by legislatures often pass with statutes that specifically allow churches to continue their discriminatory practices against gays. But a day will come when such bigotry will be considered as atrocious as discriminating against individuals and their families due to their not being white.

  • Vicki

    They may be experiencing an infringement on their ability to do something they formerly could do (i.e., refuse spousal benefits to any of their employees in same-sex marriages). It does not follow that this is an infringement on their rights. Not everything someone wants to do is a right. They no more have a right to stop other people from getting married because they are of the same gender than I have a right to force J. Random Bigot to officiate at a same-sex wedding ceremony between a white atheist and a dark-skinned Hindu.

  • thascius

    @9-There has never been a constitutionally protected “right” to not employ people whose religious views you disapprove of. Under federal civil rights law in the US a fundamentalist Christian cannot refuse to hire a Jewish person, a Muslim person, or even an atheist no matter how much those individuals refusal to acknowledge Jesus as Lord may personally offend the fundamentalist Christian. For that matter an atheist could not refuse to hire a qualified Christian fundamentalist for a job or fire him for his religious beliefs (and plenty of conservative Christian groups would sue in a heartbeat if he tried). As it’s been said elsewhere your right to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins. Genuine religious freedom does not give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others.

    As far as churches, it’s unlikely they will ever be required to conduct or recognize gay marriage. As it stands now a preacher can refuse to perform any marriage for any reason he or she sees fit. Some preachers do refuse to perform interfaith marriages. There are probably some who refuse to perform interracial marriages. And of course, Catholic priests refuse to remarry divorced people, unless they’ve had their previous marriage annulled by the Catholic church. That too, is freedom of religion. But in none of those cases are they saying the government should prevent those marriages.

  • freehand

    thascius As it’s been said elsewhere your right to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins.


    Interesting analogy, and of course I’ve heard it before. May I point out that I have the right to defend myself by blocking, throwing, or counter-punching if I legitimately think I am under attack. If the court agrees that a reasonable person would have thought he were under attack, then I wouldn’t even be charged. You have the right to swing your fist, but not to threaten or frighten me.


    I bring this up because rights may be simple in concept but not so easy to parse in execution. I think it’s clear that a bigot does not have tohe right to be free of offense from someone else’s marriage. But how about if that (bigoted) person’s child is gay? Does he have the right to “pray over” the child for a divine cure? At what point does it become child abuse?