Thursday, May 2, 2013
A bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed 56-15 in the RI State House today.
Sixteen years after legislation was initially introduced in Rhode Island, same-sex marriage is now legal in the Ocean State. On Thursday afternoon, the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the legislation with a vote of 56-15. East Providence Reps. Helio Melo, Katherine Kazarian and Joy Hearn all supported the bill; Rep. Gregg Amore did not vote because he is out of town at a conference. "This is a great day in Rhode Island, not just for the many Rhode Island families who will now get the recognition and equality that they so richly deserve, and not only for the thousands who have been fighting for decades for the dignity and rights of all citizens," said House Speaker Gordon Fox, the first openly gay House Speaker in the nation…
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
With the Senate's approval, the bill now goes back to the House for approval, then to Gov. Lincoln Chafee for his signature.
In a 26-12 vote, the Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in the state, the last in New England to approve such a measure. All three of East Providence's senators, Daniel DaPonte, William Conley Jr. and David Bates, voted in favor of the legislation. Conley, a freshman senator who was seen as a key vote on the Judiciary Committee in approving the bill, noted that Rhode Island has a tradition ensuring that "all churches and faiths are protected from the government — when the state defines a civil marriage, it can not redefine religious beliefs." In announcing his support of the bill, Conley added: "As a Catholic and a legislator, I recognize that to protect our religious freedom, we must …
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The RI Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to move marriage-equality legislation to the full Senate on Wednesday; East Providence Sen. William Conley among those in favor.
The full RI Senate will vote on the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow afternoon after it was sent to the floor by the Senate Judiciary Committee today, April 23. The vote was 7-4. Among those voting in support of the bill was Sen. William J. Conley Jr. of East Providence, according to the Providence Journal. The committee rejected by a 6-5 vote a bill that would have put the marriage-equality legislation before Rhode Island voters in a referendum next year. The victory on Tuesday gives gay marriage supporters much hope in a debate that has been fierce at times. Dozens of same-sex marriage supporters packed the third floor State House hearing room and the hallway outside, according to the newspaper. Voting for the bill besides Conley were …
Marriage-equality advocates in East Providence hold a rally aimed at Sen. William Conley Jr., who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled to vote today on same-sex marriage bills.
East Providence Sen. William Conley Jr. was the target of a rally by marriage-equality advocates Monday evening at Church of the Epiphany in Rumford. The rally took place on the eve of Senate Judiciary Committee votes on three pieces same-sex marriage legislation today in the State House. Conley serves as a member of the Senate panel. “It’s primarily to send a message to Sen. Conley, who said he is still considering the bills,” said Devin Driscoll, communications director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage. “He has been incredibly receptive to meeting with constituents,” Driscoll said. “He will be meeting with constituents again on Tuesday.” Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, echoed Driscoll’s …
Friday, January 25, 2013
East Providence's four state representatives voted in favor of the legislation that will allow same-gender marriages in RI; the final vote was 51-19
Friday, January 25
In an historic 51-19 vote, the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage Thursday afternoon. The bill now goes to the state Senate, where leadership has said no action will be taken on it until spring. East Providence Reps. Helio Melo, Gregg Amore, Katherine Kazarian and Joy Hearn all voted in favor of the bill, according to the official tally. The latter three representatives were among the 42 sponsors of the House bill. “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," said Rep. Art Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), the bill's primary …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The proposal to guarantee marriage rights to all Rhode Islanders now moves onto the state Senate.
Thursday, January 24
Rhode Island moved another step closer to marriage equality Thursday as the 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 …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The state House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on the controversial measure for 3 pm on Jan. 22.
Tuesday, January 22
A vote by the State House Judiciary committee on a bill allowing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is scheduled for a vote this afternoon at 3 p.m., the General Assembly Press Bureau announced. The "Equal Access to Marriage" bill — submitted in the House by Cranston Rep. Arthur Handy and co-sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) — would make Rhode Island the last state in New England to allow same-sex marriages, and would recognize any civil unions as marriages. According to a release from the General Assembly Press Bureau, "no further testimony will be taken at this hearing." The agenda for today's hearing is attached to this article. What's your take? Is it about time the government stops discriminating …
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
William Conley, the first-term state senator from East Providence, is viewed as among the 10 people who could decide the same-gender marriage bill in the General Assembly.
An East Providence state senator in his first term has been named as one of 10 people who could decide the fate of same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. William Conley Jr. (D-18) is listed in a story in golocalprov.com as one of the 10 key votes because of his appointment to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Indeed, he is described as a "potential swing vote," according to the story. The same-sex marriage debate kicks off today, Jan. 15, when the House Judiciary Committee takes up the bill that would allow same-gender couples to marry and change the definition of civil unions to marriages. Conley is seen as one of the biggest question marks because he has not stated his preference on this issue. A colleague said in the golocalprov.com story …
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
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.
Tuesday, January 8
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 …