Gay marriage passes first legislative hurdle in Rhode Island

Judiciary Committee unanimously votes to send legislation to full House of Representatives - possibly this week

Gay marriage passes first legislative hurdle in Rhode Island
22 January 2013

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday (23 January) unanimously voted to send legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry  to the full House of Representatives.

The 11-0 vote is the first legislative hurdle in making Rhode Island the tenth state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage.

Rhode Islanders United for Marriage campaign director Ray Sullivan called the vote ‘historic’ and ‘affirmative.’

‘After hearing testimony from every day Rhode Islanders – gay and straight, friends, family, and community leaders – the committee resoundingly endorsed extending the unique protections and recognition of marriage to all loving, committed couples,’ Sullivan told Washington Blade. ‘This historic, affirmative vote moves us one step closer to finally making the Ocean State a place where all families are valued, respected and treated equally.’

The vote before the full house could take place as early as Thursday (24 January) and it is expected to pass. But there is less confidence about the legislation’s chances for passage in the state senate.

But Governor Lincoln Chafee has said it is past time for his state to make gay marriage legal and said in a statement that he is pleased with the vote. Rhode Island is the only New England state where gay marriage is not yet legal.

‘It is a civil rights issue, it is an issue of basic fairness, and it is an economic development issue,’ Chafee said as he listed reasons why passage is good for the state. ‘We are at an economic disadvantage with our neighboring states when we do not ‘have the welcome mat out’ for all those who want to work here and contribute to our economy. Rhode Island already lags behind all of our New England neighbors on this issue; we should swiftly remedy that for the good of our economy and the rights of our citizens.

‘With this afternoon’s vote, we are one step closer to the day when gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders can enjoy the same fundamental rights, benefits, and privileges as all other citizens of our state,’ he added. ‘It is my hope that that day will come soon. I urge the leaders of the House and Senate to call the roll, and I will be proud to sign this important legislation when it reaches my desk.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Russian lawmaker threatens to set up group to ‘protect’ people from LGBTs

A Russian lawmaker who has proposed legislation allowing LGBTs to be whipped has said he will establish a group to defend the public against ‘attacks’ by gay people
No thumbnail available

Call for Malaysia to keep sexuality and gender identity in new anti-discrimination bill

Human rights groups are calling on Malaysia’s National Unity Consultative Council to stand strong in the face of criticism after it included sexuality and gender identity among protected groups in a draft new anti-discrimination bill
No thumbnail available

Human Rights Campaign ratchets up pressure on IOC regarding Russia's anti-gay law with petition

Wants 'explicit, written guarantee from Russian President Vladimir Putin that visitors to the Olympics will be safe'
No thumbnail available

Grooming shouldn’t be a dirty word for gay men

Are men missing a bonding experience by not talking openly about the beauty and grooming products and techniques they all secretly use?
No thumbnail available

India Supreme Court recriminalizes homosexuality

The Supreme Court of India has set aside a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that legalized homosexuality, passing the issue back to lawmakers to deal with in a major setback for LGBTI rights in India
No thumbnail available

Church of Scotland to vote on whether to allow married gay ministers

While allowing gay ministers, this final vote will see whether those in a civil partnership or a marriage will be allowed to preach
No thumbnail available

Manchester Pride releases tickets for Big Weekend 2012

Organizers have frozen prices to match Early Bird tickets for £15 for event in North West England
No thumbnail available

Republican pundit Meghan McCain joins GLAAD board of directors

Her father, US Senator John McCain, has been staunchly opposed to gay marriage and allowing gays to serve openly in the military
No thumbnail available

Jordan gay magazine wins praise from city Facebook page

Jordan's gay magazine, My Kali, has been featured on the Facebook page of the capital city, Amman, with a call for people to respect gay rights - provoking lively debate
No thumbnail available

Ukraine votes for anti-gay propaganda law

Ukraine Parliament deputies approve law against homosexuality with landslide vote in first reading