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House Approves Same-Sex Marriage

The proposal to guarantee marriage rights to all Rhode Islanders now moves onto the state Senate.


Rhode Island moved one step closer to marriage equality Thursday as the House of Representatives voted 51 to 19 today to allow same-sex couples to marry in the state, the Legislature announced in a release.

Rep. Arthur Handy, who has introduced the bill for each of the last 11 years, said the proposal is about justice and equity for same-sex couples.

“Obviously, this issue is about fairness and allowing all Rhode Islanders to have equal access to the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage, but marriage is about so much more than legal protections," Handy said in a release. "My wife and I have been married since 1997, and as we’ve worked together to raise our son, the value of having a committed, strong family has become more apparent to us over time. All Rhode Islanders deserve to enjoy that security and support, and deserve to have their family recognized as equal to others.

"It feels good to see how far we’ve come in Rhode Island toward valuing all families, and I know we are close to the day when marriage equality becomes law here,” the Cranston representative added.

Forty-two of the 75 House members sponsored the bill, and the House Judiciary Committee approved it unanimously. The Seante is the final hurdle as Gov. Lincoln Chafee has pledged to sign it if the Senate approves it as well, the State House release states.

The bill removes gender-specific language from the section of the general laws that governs eligibility for marriage. It inserts language that allows any person to marry any other eligible person, regardless of gender, effective immediately upon adoption of the bill.

It contains a provision that allows couples who entered into civil unions in Rhode Island to convert those unions to marriages, and automatically converts all remaining civil unions that have not been dissolved by Jan. 1, 2014, into marriages on that date. 

The bill reiterates the right of religious institutions to set their own guidelines for marriage eligibility within their faith.

Rhode Island is the only New England state that does not allow same-sex marriage. Currently nine states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex couples to marry.

In September, a WPRI poll of 501 likely voters in Rhode Island found that 56 percent of Rhode Islanders support same-gender marriage, and only 36 percent oppose it.

Pablo London January 26, 2013 at 10:05 PM
WELCOME TO UNITED STATE OF AMERIGAYLAND
Pablo London January 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Im just wonder if Obama is faking his marrige cause he is fully gay?
Dan Johnson March 24, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Your excuses for ignoring the Golden Rule rely on a few misinterpreted and mistranslated texts: "What the Bible forbids is acts of lust, rape, idolatry, violation of religious purity obligations, or pederasty, but no condemnation of homosexuality in relationships of mutual respect and love. "On the other hand, the Bible pointedly celebrates instances of same-sex emotional intimacy, a fact often overlooked by fearful homophobic readers." James B. Nelson, Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary
Dan Johnson March 24, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Jesus never condemned love. "If Jesus ever said anything about homosexuality, it is not recorded in the Bible, even mistranslated. He did, however, speak extensively on God's unconditional love. Yet instead of dwelling on biblical love, Christians have historically been more concerned with obscure passages of Levitical cleanliness codes and Paul's misunderstood comments in Romans. Instead of focusing on the incredible injustice and hatred demonstrated by Christians and others, tying to deny homosexuals even basic civil rights, people appear more concerned with the specific homosexual acts between consenting adults who are naturally have a homosexual orientation. As James B. Nelson notes, the Bible more clearly advocates a "love ethic" rather than a "sex ethic." I Cor 6:9, no way refers to homosexuality. The original Greek word often quoted as sexual immorality, Paul used was "porneia" which means "a harlot for hire". In Corinth in the temples of Venus, the principal deity of Corinth, where Christians went to worship, a thousand public prostitutes were kept at public expense to glorify and act as surrogates for the fertility Gods. This sex with the pagan Gods is what Paul was talking about - fornication is an admitted mistranslation and has nothing to do with gays or singles sex. This rendering reflected the bias of the translators rather than an accurate translation of Paul's words to a culture of 2000 years ago worshipping pagan sex gods. (Rev.Dr. Mel White)
Mrs. B March 25, 2013 at 12:31 AM
God made both gay and straights and God does NOT make junk. He loves us all unconditionally that is why He sent His only begotten Son. Judge not lest you be judge. Happy Easter.

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