same-sex marriage

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After helping to shepherd same-sex marriage legislation on what once seemed an improbable path to victory, House Speaker Gordon Fox was a bit surprised Tuesday to be asked about his own wedding plans.

"I'm just trying to plan to get through this session," Fox said, laughing, when asked if he has plans to marry later this year. "That's a curve ball. I hadn't though about that one. Maybe you should ask my partner that."

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected Thursday to sign into law legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The House Judiciary Committee quickly approved the bills Tuesday.

Any uncertainty facing the same-sex bills was eliminated when the state Senate overwhelmingly approved them last week. In a largely procedural matter, House Judiciary followed up with an unanimous 13-to-zero vote. Education activist Maryellen Butke, who can recall how fellow gays and lesbians once faced overt hostility in Rhode Island, called the vote historic.

In today's podcast, same-sex marriage  in Rhode Island, and animal rights activists demonstrating at Brown University.  Plus Scott Mackay on the road to same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.

Change happens slowly in politics. Except when it doesn’t. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay explains the forces behind Rhode Island’s reversal on gay marriage.

The Ocean State is poised to become the 10th  state in the nation to recognize same sex marriages and join our five New England neighbors in the vanguard of the movement for equal treatment for gay citizens. 

RI Couple Anticipates Marriage

Apr 29, 2013
Flo Jonic/RIPR

This promises to be a pivotal week in the long-fought battle for same sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The House is expected to tweak the bill approved last week by the state Senate and send it off to Governor Lincoln Chafee for his signature. 

Aaron Coutu works not one but two library jobs. But Sunday, his mind was not exclusively on books. Coutu, who with his partner, Ray Daignault, became the first Rhode Island couple to engage in a civil union two years ago, now plan to get married once it becomes legal to do so August 1st.

Rhode Island, you do us proud with your ceaseless stream of unexpected political developments. Happy Friday, and welcome back. You're tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Here we go:

1. Former state treasurer Frank Caprio's is on the comeback trail after his gubernatorial campaign melted down in 2010: he's planning to run for treasurer next year, regardless of who else might be in the race.

Rhode Island's New Day

Apr 26, 2013

Change happens slowly in politics. Except when it doesn’t. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains the forces behind Rhode Island’s reversal on gay marriage.

The Ocean State is poised to become the 10th  state in the nation to recognize same sex marriages and join our five New England neighbors in the vanguard of the movement for equal treatment for our gay citizens.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Ray Sullivan, the head of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, joins the Roundtable this week to discuss the state Senate vote in favor of same-sex marriage; concerns about the impact on religious institutions; how the battle was won, and other issues.

Ian Donnis/RIPR

The gallery of the Senate erupted in cheers when the chamber voted by a margin of two-to-one to legalize same sex marriages.  The House overwhelmingly approved the same legislation in January. Senate bill sponsor Donna Nesselbush of Pawtucket who is openly gay called it an issue of historic importance.

"To each and every senator in this room," Nesselbush said, "the eyes of the nation are upon us and we are poised to become the 10th state in the nation to join the force for equality that is sweeping our great nation."

RI On Its Way to Same-Sex Marriage

Apr 24, 2013
Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island is on track to become the 10th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriages.  The state Senate has overwhelmingly approved two nearly identical bills that would legalize such unions. The bill could go to the governor for his signature as early as next week.

The gallery of the Senate erupted in cheers when the chamber voted by a margin of two-to-one to legalize same-sex marriages.  The House overwhelmingly approved the same legislation in January. Senate bill sponsor Donna Nesselbush of Pawtucket, who is openly gay, called it an issue of historic importance.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In recent years, the Rhode Island Senate has been considered the Bermuda Triangle of same-sex politics -- the place where gay marriage legislation would supposedly go to die.

The Rhode Island Senate approved two virtually identical same-sex marriage bills by a 26-12 margin Wednesday afternoon. The bills still face certain House approval and a signature from Governor Lincoln Chafee, meaning Rhode Island is poised to become the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage, perhaps as soon as next week.

The votes happened with surprising speed after a 17-year effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, filling the Senate chamber and its exterior with scores of joyous supporters.

Tuesday was a remarkable day in Rhode Island politics. First, the five-member GOP contingent in the 38-member state Senate -- including the chamber's low-key minority leader, Dennis Algiere -- offered its unified support for same-sex marriage. Then, and much more significantly, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio found himself on the wrong side of a key vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rhode Island is now on the cusp of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on a 7 – 4 vote. A bill putting the issue up for referendum was defeated by a 6 – 5 vote.

The vote was greeted with jubilation by same sex marriage supporters gathered in a Statehouse hearing room. Supporters say they’re hopeful the committee vote signals full Senate approval. The bill will go to a full Senate vote Wednesday.

Reaction to the Vote

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to weigh in on same-sex marriage on Tuesday.  Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott Mackay talks with us about the significance of the scheduled vote, and what to expect from legislators.  

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