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Same-Sex Marriage Proposed [Again] — Will It Pass This Time?

A Cranston legislator has submitted a bill in the state General Assembly to approve marriage for same-sex couples — and we're looking for your feedback.

 

Rhode Island now remains the only state in New England that forbids same-sex marriage — but that soon could change if the General Assembly votes to approve new legislation. 

On Jan. 3, legislation to allow same-gender couples to marry in Rhode Island was introduced in both the Rhode Island House and Senate, with a pledge from House Speaker Gordon Fox for a floor vote early in the session. Fox, the first co-sponsor of the House bill, is openly gay. 

The legislation has broad support, with 42 members of the House signing on as sponsors and 11 members of the Senate.

Among the East Providence delegation to the General Assembly, Reps. Gregg Amore, Katherine Kazarian and Joy Hearn added their names as sponsors of the bills in their respective chambers.

Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), the lead sponsor in the House who has introduced the bill annually for over a decade, explained in a press release that he hoped this would be the year that marriage equality becomes law.

“We are long overdue. Rhode Island, the colony founded on the principle of personal liberty, is now the only New England state that doesn’t allow same-gender couples equal marriage," said Handy. "Rhode Islanders recognize that same-gender couples deserve the rights and responsibilities that other couples already enjoy, and support has been getting wider every year."

The legislation is not only gaining support from proponents of civil rights, but also those in the wedding business. 

"Having it legalized, I think it will bring in more business and there's new publications you can advertise in. I'm sure it will help increase business," said Katie Wilkinson, event manager for the Glen Manor House, a location which hosts weddings throughout the year in nearby Portsmouth. 

"It's definitely an increase of business we could see. We have done several commitment services before." 

Rhode Island passed a law in 2011 allowing civil unions for same-gender couples as a compromise measure, but relatively few have taken advantage of it, and many have criticized civil unions as a less-than-equal offering to same-gender couples.

What do you think?

Is it time for Rhode Island to allow same-sex couples to marry? Will it result in a economic boost for small business?

Have your say in the comment section below.

prolifemomri January 08, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Whether something would boost business or not doesn't determine if it's the right thing to do, necessarily. And what of the business owners who cannot, in conscience, pretend that same-gender sexual relationships are "marriage"? In any case, the same folks who protested at having to "travel all the way to Massachusetts" to wed will have no qualms crossing the state borders to save money on related purchases. No guarantee of a business boost even if we sacrifice morality, sanity, and freedoms of religion and conscience.
Dan Johnson April 04, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Treating others as you would yourself under the law, does not sacrifice anything.

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