Katie Lang, a county clerk in Hood, Texas, made national news last month by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because her “religious convictions” are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence publicly lauded Lang’s decision in a Facebook post, writing, “Congratulations to Ms. Lang for her courageous stand. We need many more conscientious objectors—public officials, private businesses, advertisers, religious leaders, and family members—people of courage who will abide by their conscience, protect their religious rights, and not support or enable the furtherance of this moral aberration, so-called same sex marriage.”
In a statement last month, Bishop Tobin, who serves on the boards of trustees at Providence College and Salve Regina University, said of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, “Catholics, and other citizens of goodwill, should oppose this misdirected innovation and steadfastly proclaim the unchanging truth about marriage as we have received it from God.”
In an interview with Rhode Island Public Radio, RI Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed of Newport (a previous opponent of same-sex marriage) said she “certainly would not join in that call” in reference to Bishop Tobin’s statement, and noted that regardless of the Bishop’s moral and personal beliefs that he is entitled to, the U.S. Constitution must be obeyed.