House Approves Same-sex Marriage

The proposal to guarantee marriage rights to all Rhode Islanders now moves onto the state Senate.

Rhode Island moved one step closer to marriage equality Thursday as the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted 51 to 19 today to allow same-sex couples to marry in the state, the Legislature announced in a release.

Rep. Arthur Handy, who has introduced the bill for each of the last 11 years, said the proposal is about justice and equity for same-sex couples.

“Obviously, this issue is about fairness and allowing all Rhode Islanders to have equal access to the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage, but marriage is about so much more than legal protections," Handy said in a release. "My wife and I have been married since 1997, and as we’ve worked together to raise our son, the value of having a committed, strong family has become more apparent to us over time. All Rhode Islanders deserve to enjoy that security and support, and deserve to have their family recognized as equal to others.

"It feels good to see how far we’ve come in Rhode Island toward valuing all families, and I know we are close to the day when marriage equality becomes law here,” the Cranston representative added.

Forty-two of the 75 House members sponsored the bill, and the House Judiciary Committee approved it unanimously. The Seante is the final hurdle as Gov. Lincoln Chafee has pledged to sign it if the Senate approves it as well, the Statehouse release states.

The bill removes gender-specific language from the section of the general laws that governs eligibility for marriage. It inserts language that allows any person to marry any other eligible person, regardless of gender, effective immediately upon adoption of the bill.

It contains a provision that allows couples who entered into civil unions in Rhode Island to convert those unions to marriages, and automatically converts all remaining civil unions that have not been dissolved by Jan. 1, 2014, into marriages on that date. 

The bill reiterates the right of religious institutions to set their own guidelines for marriage eligibility within their faith.

Rhode Island is the only New England state that does not allow same-sex marriage. Currently nine states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex couples to marry.

In September, a WPRI poll of 501 likely voters in Rhode Island found that 56 percent of Rhode Islanders support same-gender marriage, and only 36 percent oppose it.

Click here for the breakdown of votes.

Leave RI January 25, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Whos Your Daddy January 25, 2013 at 03:55 AM
Its immoral.
Making His Name Known January 25, 2013 at 04:28 AM
Just plain WRONG!!! Can we say Sodom and Gamorrha??? Oh the wrath that God is going pour out upon this world very soon.
Alicarn January 25, 2013 at 02:27 PM
To those who oppose gay marriage (ugh, I hate that term - it's just marriage) I always like to ask a question. When did they decide that they were straight? Usually they can't answer and that's when I remind them that there really is no choice, that you are born straight or you are born gay, period. I don't think anyone would chose to be gay; to choose to be harassed, preyed upon and discriminated against. Why would you choose to go through life knowing that you would find discrimination EVERYWHERE you go? Family, school, church, jobs, etc.. Our own government has told people it's okay to hate those who are gay. We are ALL EQUAL and the closed minded legislators across our country will be waking up and doing what is right. EVERY little girl or boy needs to know that when they grow up and fall in love and choose to marry - that they can, regardless of their sexual preference. The majority should never be allowed to vote on the rights of the minority. Equality for all.


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