Calls for a popular vote on the question are also dead in the water. In Rhode Island, only the General Assembly can put a question on the ballot. And that won’t happen.

Same-sex marriage supporters have a philosophical objection — the majority should not vote on the rights of the minority. But they have a political one, too: gay marriage opponents have won in all 30 states that have turned the question over to the citizenry.

There is, in other words, no middle ground. This is an all-or-nothing fight — sharp-elbowed, unpredictable, and of great consequence.

The aspirations of thousands of gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders — and, perhaps, a passel of politicians — hang in the balance.  

David Scharfenberg can be reached atdscharfenberg[a]

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