Gay marriage stalls as RI lawmakers wrap up
Posted on July 4, 2009
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island seems almost certain to remain the only New England state that does not recognize gay marriage after measures legalizing same-sex unions stalled just before the part-time General Assembly ended the bulk of its annual work.
None of the bills legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island advanced to a floor vote this session, continuing a trend begun in 1997.
The lack of State House action on gay unions means that Rhode Island is unlikely to allow same-sex marriage anytime soon, despite decisions this year by lawmakers in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont to join Connecticut and Massachusetts in legalizing marriage equality.
“I was hoping the momentum that was going around New England and the support we had in the House would get enough representatives to ask for it,” said Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), who is gay and sponsored same-sex marriage legislation. He and his partner wed in Canada.
Equally disappointed were marriage equality opponents, who wanted voters to be able to decide whether the state constitution should be changed to ban gay marriage.
“I think that if you put it to the voters on a statewide basis, gay marriage would fail,” said Rep. Jon Brien, D-Woonsocket.
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