As we enter the new year (and, in turn, the 2013 legislative session), many now speculate that the Democratic leadership in the Rhode Island State Legislature will pass a new bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Rhode Island is the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex couples to marry. State House Speaker Gordon Fox, the sponsor of the bill, said it would be debated on the House floor by the end of the month. The bill is likely to pass the House, but the outcome of the vote in the Senate is still uncertain. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed is against gay marriage.
The majority of voters in RI support allowing same sex marriage, but the proposed bill is not without its opponents. Bishop Thomas Tobin, a powerful local figure (Rhode Island is the most Catholic state in the country), called the measure “immoral and unnecessary.” Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14, who passed a law allowing for civil unions between same-sex couples two years ago, has said he is “eager” to sign the bill if it arrives at his desk.
Brown, of course, has had its own run-in with some anti-gay Crusaders in recent years (check this out if you’re a freshman or sophomore), and it’s safe to assume students still “love gays.” We were indeed ranked 4th most LGBT-friendly college last year.
The RI House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the bill today. Keep checking back here for more updates about the bill’s progress.