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Mayors From Across Rhode Island Join Marriage Equality Effort

On the heels of an unprecedented 12-hour legislative hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, with momentum building for marriage equality legislation across Rhode Island, and eroding support for the damaging and divisive referendum offered by opponents of the freedom to marry, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage today launched Mayors for Marriage Equality.

“I think it’s an incredible testament to their leadership that so many of our municipal executives have chosen to stand up and endorse Senator Nesselbush’s legislation currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Ray Sullivan, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage campaign director. “We are deeply grateful for their strong support, and look forward to continuing ensure the voices of the broad and growing majority of Rhode Islanders who believe in the freedom to marry.”

“As mayors, we are proud to stand together in support of the freedom of all loving, committed couples to marry,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. “The right to marry is an issue of fundamental fairness. I join with my fellow mayors from communities across our state in calling on our elected leaders in the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 38 and finally bring marriage equality to Rhode Island.”

The group includes Mayor Scott Avedisian of Warwick, Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, Mayor Donald Grebien of Pawtucket, Mayor Charles Lombardi of North Providence, Mayor Daniel McKee of Cumberland, and Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence.

“We all know gay and lesbian people living in our cities or towns who are in long-term loving relationships, and who are active participants in the civic life of our communities,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. “They deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life.

At its 2009 annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution stating in part: “The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.”      

“Marriage tells our communities that two people are uniquely committed to one another – that they are a family. All loving couples deserve the dignity and respect only marriage affords,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa. “Our cities and towns have as their primary responsibilities public safety and education. The freedom to marry gives couples the tools and security they need to build a life together and ensures the children of all Rhode Island families have the unique protection only marriage can provide.”

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