Rhode Island Marriage Synopsis

Timothy Kincaid

February 21st, 2009

There is a good article in the Providence Journal that lays out the current attitudes surrounding the fight for marriage equality in the state of Rhode Island. Currently, marriages occurring elsewhere (in neighbor states of Connecticut and Massachusetts) are recognized but the state has no in-state method for providing any protections for same-sex couples.

Basically, the political influences fall out as follows:

Bills under consideration:

  • Prohibit same-sex marriage
  • Legalize same-sex marriage
  • Allow for in-state divorce of out-of-state marriages


  • Governor Donald Carcieri (R) opposes marriage
  • House Speaker William Murphy (D) opposes marriage
  • Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D) opposes marriage but supports civil unions

Gubernatorial candidates for 2010

  • Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (D) was a cosponsor for marriage
  • Att. Gen. Patrick Lynch (D) supports marriage
  • Treasurer Frank Caprio (D) does not support but wouldn’t stand in the way
  • Rep. Joseph Trillo (R) supports civil unions, would sign anti-marriage bill but also would sign pro-marriage bill if it was supported by 60% of population in a poll

Gay Lobbyists

  • Providence Mayor David Cicilline (D) supports marriage but is willing to accept civil unions as an incremental step.
  • Marriage Equality of Rhode Island wants marriage without incremental step.

A poll of 500 likely Rhode Island voters released in July found the following results:

    Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally?

    Favor: 49%
    Oppose: 37%


February 21st, 2009

There seems to always be 14% or so undecided in all the pre-ballot polls, I think it was something like that with California too wasn’t it? Sigh.

Emily K

February 21st, 2009

RI is a funny state. they’ve always been funny, since colonial times. Progressive and traditionalist at the same time, I suppose. But I have faith that they will embrace LGBTQ equality sooner than most.


February 21st, 2009

So, what could be more progressive and traditionalist than a gay person wanting to be married?

Seems like this would be a perfect fit for Rhode Island!

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