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.
Same-sex marriage supporters back a bill similar to one passed by the House in January. They say it would allow same-sex couples to marry while protecting religious freedoms.
Opponents of same-sex marriage are rallying behind a competing bill they call a compromise. It would make legalizing same-sex marriage contingent on a statewide vote. The bill would also allow far broader exemptions for religious officials and small businesses that don’t want to recognize same-sex marriages.
The Judiciary Committee is expected to take hours of testimony for and against each of the two bills. The 10-member Committee is closely divided between supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage. It isn’t expected to vote on the legislation until later in the General Assembly session.
Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. email@example.com