Gay Marriage in Works in RI

It will be last state in New England to allow it

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2013 7:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Rhode Island, perhaps sensing that all the cool kids in the region were doing it, is moving forward on a bill allowing anyone to marry "any eligible person regardless of gender." Rhode Island is currently the only state in New England not to allow same-sex marriage, but that looks poised to change, with the House expected to pass the bill today, after it unanimously cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is gay, supports the bill, as does Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed opposes the bill, but has said she will allow a vote on it. Supporters believe it will pass if she does, but opponents are lobbying hard against it. Religious groups are split: The Roman Catholic bishop of Providence last week called gay marriage "immoral and unnecessary," while the state's Episcopal bishop endorsed it, saying, "Christ welcomed all to his table."

C. Kelly Smith, of Providence hugs Patrick Crowley, of Lincoln after a house committee vote on gay marriage at the Statehouse, in Providence, Jan. 22, 2013.
C. Kelly Smith, of Providence hugs Patrick Crowley, of Lincoln after a house committee vote on gay marriage at the Statehouse, in Providence, Jan. 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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There was deep-rooted religious opposition. Even though we’re mostly Democrats, we had many conservative Democrats who have kept this at bay. - Deputy House Majority Leader Frank G. Ferri, a Democrat, on why Rhode Island hasn't approved gay marriage already

We belong to the United States of America, not to the United States of New England. - Christopher Plante, Executive Director of the National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island

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