same sex marriage

Gay rights activists are asking how to re-focus their movement now that same-sex marriage is legal across the country. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Emily Wooldridge spoke with several Ocean State residents to find out what they think. 

She filed this audio postcard with the voices of Newport native Rodney Davis and his partner Brian Mills, Anthony Masselli and Providence Wendy Becker and her 12-year-old son.


Rhode Island’s gay and lesbian community is weighing in on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of nation-wide same-sex marriage. Many see it as an affirmation of the state’s same-sex marriage law.

Sandra Richard joined the local chapter of the lesbian, gay and transgender advocacy group known as PFLAG back in 2010. Her daughter is transgender and married to a woman. At the time, Rhode Island was still three years away from same-sex marriage. 

Rhode Island lawmakers voted to allow same–sex marriage in 2013, but Richard says the Supreme Court decision is still important.

RIPR file photo

Gay rights groups in Rhode Island say the pending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage could have local impact. The court is considering a landmark case that may determine whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

Rhode Island already recognizes same-sex marriage, but Sandra Richards, president of the local chapter of the LGBTQ support group known as PFLAG, says she is still looking for the high court to weigh in.

"There are a lot of implications to marriage equality that affect the daily lives of everyone, even just traveling," Richards said.

Cade Tompkins Projects

Lincoln Chafee’s announcement that he is seriously considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential  nomination brings to mind sports broadcaster Al Michaels’ famous call from the USA hockey team’s upset victory over the USSR in the 1980 winter Olympics: Do you Believe in Miracles?

That’s pretty much what is would take for Chafee to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017.


Rhode Island has a religious freedom law that bears some similarity to an Indiana proposal, that is now raising controversy around the country. Rhode Island’s law drew little criticism when it passed more than 20 years ago.

Rhode Island ACLU director Steve Brown said Rhode Island’s religious freedom law was passed with broad support in the early 1990s. Brown said the law was a response to a US Supreme Court decision denying the right of Native Americans to use peyote in religious ceremonies.

When Rhode Islanders head to polls next week, they will face an important issue that has not drawn much attention. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looks at the Constitutional Convention question.

Our small state is holding a big election on Nov. 4. Statewide and federal offices are all being contested. Every General Assembly member confronts voters, who will also elect mayors in the Rhode Island’s two largest cities, Providence and Warwick.

Did we say the talk was cancelled? We should have said postponed.

That was the message from Providence College Provost Hugh Lena, who sent an email to the college community on Wednesday. The note says the college is working to reschedule same-sex marriage supporter John Corvino of Wayne State University, who has agreed to appear alongside same-sex marriage opponent Sherif Girgis, a doctoral student and law student from Princeton.

Today we celebrate the glorious history of the American labor movement. While unions have a storied past RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what the future holds.

Labor Day in Rhode Island has long been more than a summer’s end holiday. For decades, union leaders and their members have celebrated a movement that assimilated immigrants, fought vigorously for better pay and working conditions and was a fulcrum in the creation of a strong middle class.

Courtesy Rhode Island Catholic Dioceses

The Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, said he has become a registered Republican.

Tobin told a group of Rhode Island Young Republicans he blamed himself and the Catholic Church for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

He also said Catholic lawmakers at the State house quote “let us down.”

The Dioceses of Providence wrote a "Letter to Catholics on the Approval of Same-Sex Marriage" which was published in the newspaper, Rhode Island Catholic Newspaper following the passage in May.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Across the Ocean State, same-sex couples are applying for marriage licenses and tying the knot. On Thursday Rhode Island and Minnesota became the 12th and 13th states in the country to legalize gay marriage. The bill was signed into law back in May, making Rhode Island the last state in New England to legalize gay marriage.

The state Senate is set to vote Wednesday on bills to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. Advocates are continuing to press their case before the vote.

Supporters were overjoyed when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved two same-sex marriage bills. The head of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, Ray Sullivan, says advocates aren’t taking anything for granted.

“Our work is not done, we continue to work the phones, knock doors, make calls, do all the things we’ve been doing the last several months that have led us to this moment,” said Sullivan.

As the hours dwindle to tomorrow’s Senate Judiciary Committee consideration of same-sex marriage, it appears advocates of gay unions have an advantage, say State House sources. What is still unknown is what will happen when the issue hits the Senate floor, which could come as early as Wednesday, or more likely, Thursday.

What is clear this time around is that the marriage equality campaign has done a better job this time around than two years ago, when the General Assembly approved civil unions in a compromise that pleased neither side.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mar 22, 2013

The state's unemployment is at a 4 year low. A hearing on a same-sex marriage bill brought out hundreds. These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

Plus the guest on this week's Political Roundtable is the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Mike Stenhouse.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Rhode Island Statehouse
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing Thursday afternoon on two competing bills to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. One key area of debate is the extent of exceptions for clergy and small businesses in recognizing same-sex marriages.

A few years back, when lawmakers in states such as Vermont and Massachusetts approved gay marriage, the political chatter was always focused on whether a vote supporting marriage equality would kill a legislative career due to a backlash against those who approved gay unions.

Those who supported gay marriage in legislatures were rarely ousted from office for their votes.