Rhode Island Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

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This afternoon, the Rhode Island State Senate passed the same-sex marriage bill 26-12.

Before the bill lands on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 desk, the Senate’s updated version of the bill needs to go back to the House for review and approval. The House had approved an earlier version of the bill back in January in a 51-19 vote. If the bill is signed to law, it could go into effect as early as August 1, and Rhode Island would become the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. Lil Rhody is well on its way to making marriage equality a reality.

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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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Rhode Island Same-Sex Marriage Panel

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The fight over same-sex marriage has taken place across the country, in homes, schools, campaigns and bedrooms, an incredible number of times through recent decades. The issue holds a special place in the American political process for the emotions it raises among both its supporters and its detractors.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage and one of the two major political parties have embraced it as a part of their platform. Now the debate has taken over Rhode Island. Lawmakers in the R.I. House of Representatives passed a bill in February that would legalize same-sex marriage. If the Senate approves the bill, Rhode Island’s governor Lincoln Chafee’75 P’14 will sign it. The matter, however, is far from settled.

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Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Rhode Island Marriage Equality Amendment

Picture of BAMF Matthew Lannon from RIFuture.Org

Picture of BAMF Matthew Lannon from RIFuture.Org

Rhode Island politicians took testimony about an amendment that will legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday. Some highlights from the opponents of the amendment:

  • State Senator Metts legitimately claims that it’s important to consider the “cosmic battle between God and Satan” in this discussion.
  • Dr. Susan Yoshiharo cites faulty studies that claim gay parents are worse parents.

Some great moments from the supporters of the amendment:

  • 6th grader from Wheeler School Matthew Lannon who has two moms asks RI to “Choose Love!”
  • Rhode Island College Professor Wendy Becker didn’t fuck around: “Our family, our relationship will not destroy the fabric of society. We are the fabric of society.”

While I’m clearly biased, a Senate vote to determine the fate of the bill could be months away. Nonetheless, these testimonies are really important to whether the Senate eventually passes this landmark piece of legislation.

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