Ocean State poised to become 10th marriage equality state, final New England state
Today, in a bipartisan vote of 7 to 4, Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry to the full Senate. The Senate will soon debate and vote on the marriage bill.
“We’re grateful that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken this critical step toward ensuring that same-sex couples can demonstrate and celebrate their love and commitment by getting married in Rhode Island,” said Janson Wu, a staff attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) who testified before the Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill. “Only marriage gives same-sex couples and their families the recognition and respect they need and deserve. GLAD is hopeful that the full Senate will act quickly to pass this bill.”
The Rhode Island House passed the bill with a large, bipartisan majority in January. Governor Lincoln Chafee, a vocal proponent of marriage for same-sex couples, has long pledged to sign a marriage bill into law.
Should the bill pass, Rhode Island would become the 10th state – in addition to the District of Columbia – to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. It would also become the final New England state to enact marriage equality, solidifying the region’s longstanding leadership in recognizing and protecting the dignity and freedom of LGBT people.
“Rhode Island is poised to make history with the passage of the marriage equality bill,” said Wu. “The leadership of the state legislature will stand as yet another example that our country is moving in the direction of fairness and justice for all American families – and that is the right direction.”
GLAD, a member organization of the coalition Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, brought the lawsuitGoodridge v. Department of Public Health that made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could marry, in 2004. GLAD also brought the lawsuit Kerrigan v. Department of Public Healththat made marriage equality a reality in Connecticut in 2009. Additionally, GLAD played key roles in the legislative and ballot efforts that brought marriage equality to New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.
For questions about marriage or any other LGBT issue, call GLAD’s free and confidential Legal InfoLine at 1-800-455-GLAD(4523) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.