Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary
Today the Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus announced its support for a bill that would grant marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, becoming the first unanimous decision by a legislative caucus of either party in the nation to back marriage equality legislation. The State Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve the legislation later today.
“This is a game changer,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Never before has an entire legislative caucus – much less a Republican caucus – unanimously backed marriage equality legislation. The bipartisan momentum for equality grows with each day that passes, and it’s becoming increasingly clearer that the walls of discrimination are crumbling. Our lawmakers in Washington and across the country should look to Rhode Island today as an example of what true leadership looks like.”
Upon passage of the bill, Rhode Island will become the tenth state where gay and lesbian couples can receive civil marriage licenses. The legislation was passed by the House 51-19 in January. Marriage equality bills have received bipartisan support in each state where they have passed legislatively.
An increasing number of Republicans nationwide support marriage equality, including a majority of Republicans under the age of 50, according to a March Washington Post-ABC News poll. In an amicus brief filed in support of the Hollingsworth v. Perry case before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 130 Republican leaders declare that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.