RI Gov. Chafee wants marriage

Timothy Kincaid

January 10th, 2013

In July 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (formerly R, currently I) signed a less-than-ideal civil unions bill. At that time he promised to work towards marriage. In May of last year he issued an executive order instructing state departments to recognize out-of-state marriages. Now he has called on the legislature to give him a marriage bill. (NBC 10)

Rhode Island’s governor says he wants lawmakers to pass same-sex marriage legislation and that he’d be inclined to veto any attempt to place it on a ballot as a referendum.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee told reporters Thursday that lawmakers owe it to voters to decide themselves.

A marriage bill was introduced last Thursday (AP)

Last Thursday, Democratic Rep. Art Handy of Cranston introduced a marriage equality bill in the House. Senator Donna Nesselbush, an openly gay Democrat from Pawtucket, introduced her version moments later.

Handy’s bill includes more than enough co-sponsors to assure passage in the House. In the Senate, which is led by President Teresa Paiva Weed, an opponent of marriage equality, support is not quite as robust. Nesselbush’s measure has 11 sponsors in the 38-member Senate.

The largest concern is about Paiva Weed’s committee appointments, which might doom the bill in the Senate. But Gordon Fox, the House Speaker (who is himself gay) is committed to passing the bill in the House and expects a vote on Tuesday.

In prior years there seems to have been a gentlemen’s agreement not to embarrass Paiva Weed, and a vote was never held on marriage for the state. But it appears to me that her defacto veto is no longer going to be allowed to thwart the goals of the governor or the significant and growing number of supporters of equality. And even if we fail to win a majority in the Senate, gay couples deserve to know who stands in their way.

TampaZeke

January 10th, 2013

Just for the record, Paiva Weed is a Democrat.

Hue-Man

January 11th, 2013

Has the civil union count increased from the 46 shown by Wiki? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Rhode_Island#Participation

John

January 11th, 2013

Chafee signed the civil union bill as being better than nothing. The rest of New England now accepts marriage for same-sex couples. I thought I had read awhile back that Sen. Weed had stated that she would not stand in the way of passing this legislation. I have signed a petition calling on my state reps to pass this.

Stefan

January 12th, 2013

Weed won’t block it, but it has to get out of committee. As it stands there are 5 supporters, 4 opponents, and 1 undecided.

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