RI Marriage Equality Bill Clears Major Hurdle, Passes Senate

by Charles Joughin

After strong, bipartisan vote, bill returns to the House for final approval

WASHINGTON – Today the Rhode Island Senate passed marriage equality legislation, putting the Ocean State one step closer to becoming the tenth state in America where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.  The legislation, which passed with support from the entire state Senate Republican caucus, now heads back to the state House – which overwhelmingly passed marriage in January – for a final vote.
“With the historic passage of the marriage bill in the state Senate today, Rhode Island’s committed and loving gay and lesbian couples are on the cusp of equality,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.  “On the heels of November's perfect sweep for marriage, our win today reaffirms that momentum is truly on our side.  Making today’s victory especially meaningful is the fact that all of the Senate Republicans stood on the right side of history, voting in favor of marriage equality.”
Sponsored by Sen. Donna Nesselbush and Rep. Arthur Handy, the bill passed the state Senate today 26-12 with support from all five Senate Republicans, after passing the House 51-19 in January.  Once it receives final approval from the state House, the bill heads to Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has vowed to sign the legislation without delay.  Couples would be able to begin applying for marriage licenses August 1st.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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