This is news from almost 2 years ago, but it still gets to me. $15,000 would just about pay the hospital bills for 2 of the pregnant women who will lose their insurance under the Governor’s plan. But when hard choices had to be made, this kind of thing took priority. Even 2 years ago, it was clear that there were other priorities than the health and care of Rhode Island’s children.
PROVIDENCE — State Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch is questioning Governor Carcieri’s decision to pay a nationally known conservative lawyer to file a legal brief opposing same-sex marriage.
The governor’s office signed a $15,000 contract with Indiana lawyer James Bopp Jr. to file a friend-of-the-court brief last week with the state Supreme Court, which had invited public comments while deciding whether to grant a divorce to a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts.
The case has drawn national attention as it is believed to be the first time any of the same-sex couples married in the Bay State have sought a divorce in another state.
Bopp, a socially conservative Republican with a practice focused on issues such as gay marriage and abortion, was one of at least two nationally known lawyers to contact the governor’s office about writing the brief, according to, Michael Maynard, a governor’s spokesman.
After Bopp was chosen for the no-bid contract, he spent about two weeks writing the 27-page legal document. He will be paid with as much as $15,000 in taxpayer dollars, though he has yet to submit a bill, Maynard said.
The details of the arrangement were released yesterday shortly after Lynch filed an open records request with the governor’s office regarding Bopp’s work. Lynch asserted that the brief was filed to promote Carcieri’s personal views and should have been paid for with personal money.
Never mind that most Rhode Islanders support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Never mind that Massachusetts enjoys an economic boost from gay couples who come there and spend money.
It’s frustrating that the Rhode Island economy is losing out because some people are determined to deny a civil right to others, and the poorest Rhode Islanders are paying the price.