Gay marriage bills duel in RI Senate
Posted on March 6, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
Testimony went late into the night last Thursday as supporters and opponents of gay marriage discussed a pair of bills before the Senate judiciary committee at the State House.
Bill S0136, introduced by Senator Leo Blais, R-Dist. 21, seeks to amend Rhode Island’s constitution to specify marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Bill S0147, on the other hand, calls for the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Though several bills supporting gay marriage have been introduced in the state Senate before, proponents of the current bill believe “that there is a better chance than in the past to have fruitful dialogue,” said Susan MacNeil, director of development and communications for the advocacy group Marriage Equality of Rhode Island.
The group has been working on the issue for ten years, but after the November election and the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which eliminated the right to gay marriage in that state, there has been an outpouring of public support for gay marriage, MacNeil said.
“People want to be part of the marriage equality movement,” she said.
Many of the Ocean State’s neighbors have already taken action. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts, while Vermont, New Jersey and New Hampshire have authorized civil unions. See Gay marriage bills duel in Senate
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