Are Rhode Island's Openly Gay Lawmakers Hearing Wedding Bells?

May 1, 2013

Speaker Fox with his parner, Marcus LaFond (center), during Fox's most recent swearing-in, in January
Credit 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."

Fox's longtime partner, Marcus LaFond, joined him at the rostrum when the speaker formally won re-election to his leadership post in January. Fox became the first openly gay speaker in the US when he first ascended to the powerful position in February 2010.

Fox added:

"Of course, I'd like to get married. The fight has been about commitment and ceremony, and the fulfillment that all of us want at some point, to be able to marry the one we love and build a life together. In so many ways, I've been blessed in building a life together with someone I love and care for very deeply who has not only been great to me, but my family. I've been lucky and blessed to have that. To have an actual marriage and that commitment is something that I think we all dream about and I'd like to have that as well."

Fox demurred when asked if he anticipates a wedding this year. The same-sex marriage legislation due to be signed into law Thursday by Governor Lincoln Chafee on Thursday becomes effective August 1.

At least one of Rhode Island's openly gay lawmakers is farther along with planning.

State Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), the only openly gay member of the 38-member Senate, is planning a wedding with her partner, Kelly Carse.

Elsewhere, state Representative Frank Ferri (D-Warwick) says his partner, Tony Caparco, intend to get married on the day when the new law becomes effective, August 1, which also happens to mark their 32nd anniversary together. Yet Ferri says that since Caparco and he got married in Canada in 2006, "We've got to figure out how that works. We'd like to [get married in Rhode Island] August first."