Unlike most gay marriage opponents, Paiva Weed uses a term coined by supporters — "marriage equality" — instead of same-sex marriage. She said she uses the term out of respect.
"She is a person of compassion, a person of intellect, and a person of belief, and she's trying to reconcile all that," said House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, who is openly gay.
Since promising a full and unfettered debate on gay marriage, Paiva Weed has been the subject of Statehouse rumors suggesting she might vote yes on gay marriage or attempt to extract concessions from Fox and other supporters. Paiva Weed dismisses such speculation.
"There are a number of people who are real cynics of government, and they read into anything you say or do," she said.
It may be that Paiva Weed wants to avoid standing in the way of gay marriage while at the same time staying true to her religious convictions, according to Clement "Bud" Cicilline, who served in the Senate alongside her until legislative redistricting forced them to run against each other. Cicilline lost but said he counts Paiva Weed as a friend.
"She reads the polls, and sees that people generally support it now," he said about gay marriage. "I don't think she's changed her position — she's always been true to her faith — but she isn't going to impose her personal opinions on the rest of the Senate."
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