RI Senate to decide same-sex marriage!

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The Rhode Island Senate will determine today whether Rhode Island legalizes same-sex marriage. If the measure passes, Rhode Island will be the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage.

The Senate convenes at 4pm today and the proceedings can watched online here.

After overwhelming approval by the House in January, passage of the bill would essentially send it straight to the desk of Gov. Lincoln Chafee’75 P’14. Chafee will sign it. Technically the House has to approve the bill again due to a few additional amendments beefing up the protections for religious leaders who do not support same-sex marriage, but that process should be perfunctory.

The bill cleared a significant hurdle yesterday when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it 7-4, undermining efforts to kill the legislation where it has died in previous years.  Dawson Hodgson, R-North Kingstown, Paul Jabour, D-Providence and particularly William Conley Jr.,D-East Providence were considered swing votes- and all voted to send the bill to the floor of the Senate.

Though Hodgson and Jabour will probably vote for same-sex marriage today, many analysts still see Conley’s vote as up in the air. A vote to send a bill to the Senate for discussion is not a vote to legalize same-sex marriage — necessarily.

The five Republicans in the Senate all committed to vote in favor of same-sex marriage early Tuesday.

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