Tag Archives: marriage equality
After a prolonged legislative battle, Rhode Island has officially become the 10th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage. Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who made marriage equality a central tenet of his inaugural speech in 2011, signed the bill on the steps of the State House this past Thursday. He was joined by Speaker of the House Gordon Fox (D-Providence), the first openly gay Speaker of a U.S. state legislature; Sen. Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), the only openly gay member of the Rhode Island Senate; Rhode Island’s entire federal delegation; and many other guests.
The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a hearing for two bills relating to same-sex marriage Thursday. The first, Senate Bill 38, is a companion to the bill that passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives in January. It modifies Rhode Island’s General Laws so that two people of any sex can marry, while also upholding free exercise protections for churches and other religious institutions that do not wish to perform same-sex weddings.
Same-sex marriage bills for the 2013 term have already been introduced in both chambers of the Rhode Island General Assembly. With 42 co-sponsors out of 75 legislators in the House of Representatives, it appears that passage in the lower chamber is only a matter of time. The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by progressive Edith Ajello (Providence), unanimously passed the bill Tuesday and Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence) has pledged a floor vote on the issue soon.