Gay Marriage | News | Rhode Island

Rhode Island House Approves Civil Unions in 62-11 Vote

Rhode Island's House has passed a civil union bill by a vote of 62-11, the AP reports:

Ri Lawmakers voted 62-11 Thursday to endorse the bill, which now moves to the Senate. The proposal would allow gay couples to enter into civil unions granting all of the state rights given to married couples under Rhode Island law...

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has predicted that civil unions will win broad support in her chamber. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, has said he would sign the measure.

The civil union bill was introduced as a compromise after openly gay House Speaker Gordon Fox didn't feel a marriage equality bill had the votes to pass. Fox has taken heat from some LGBT advocates for his decision.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Now once it passes, some gay couples can sue. They can't offer civil unions and justify denying marriage.

    Posted by: Tony | May 19, 2011 7:15:30 PM

  2. Tony...

    While I think you have a good point in the abstract, I know the Rhode Island Supreme Court; that argument will get no traction whatsoever.

    Posted by: RI legal | May 19, 2011 7:35:35 PM

  3. HUGE Win for RI Lawyers and politicians who can continue to rack in gay dollars in law suits and contributions so that in TEN YEARS and millions of gay dollars latter there will be another vote.

    Congratulations to Speaker Fox and his Democratic allies as well as the Roman Catholic church on this hUGE win for "civil union" protections.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | May 19, 2011 8:33:18 PM

  4. This is a crushing blow to the Rhode Island activists who have worked so hard for equality. Now that second class citizenship will be enshrined into law, the weak-kneed dems can forget about the gays for years to come.

    Posted by: blatherer | May 19, 2011 8:41:41 PM

  5. Vote out the vile [Teresa Paiva] Weed. She was instrumental in stopping marriage equality.

    Posted by: KD | May 19, 2011 8:57:53 PM

  6. If the gay community didnt have the political and financial muscle to counter NOM and get gay marriage passed, what makes anyone think they have such power to enact political retribution against lawmakers who derailed gay marriage? NOM literally puts its money where its mouth is, galvanized legions of antigay voters/citizens, and leaned on lawmakers. It delivered when it counted.

    Posted by: Javier | May 19, 2011 9:24:19 PM

  7. Javier is absolulety right. This is a huge win for NOM and a huge defeat for marriage equality. Speaker Fox may be the most incompetent legistative leader in the nation. The job of the Speaker is to push through the legislation his party promised to enact in the last election and dispite a more than 2 to 1 Demoractic majority, he failed. If we cna't beat NOM in a state like Rhode Island I am beginning to wonder if we can win anywhere.

    Posted by: Ken | May 19, 2011 11:04:12 PM

  8. it's far from perfect for sure but give it a year then sue over 2nd class status ... Use it as a stepping stone. Does this mean that if married in MA or CT , it would be honored in RI ?

    Posted by: MarkBoston | May 19, 2011 11:44:10 PM

  9. Actually, no. The legal definition between marriage and civil union are different.

    Posted by: Tom | May 20, 2011 12:16:27 AM

  10. The thing that makes me the most angry about this is that we never got an up or down vote on marriage in Rhode Island, so other than Weed, we have no idea who to target or how close we are. The Representatives need to be forced to go on record, especially in a state where 60% of the public supports marriage. This was Speaker Fox's biggest failure: rather than push for a vote and stand up for equality, he chose to protect his coleagues from the embarrassment of voting to support bigotry.

    Posted by: Ken | May 20, 2011 2:05:44 AM

  11. Hey at least in RI you are 3/5 of a person. No civil unions in Louisiana, none on the horizon, and an anti-gay marriage amendment to squelch.

    Posted by: ted | May 20, 2011 4:53:13 AM

  12. A Disgusting and Cowardly act of legislation passed by Speaker Fox.
    Especially with the religious exemption he allowed which according to GLAD goes further than any other states.

    Democratic RI politicians are breathing free again to escape having to vote on Marriage Equality and we have our own openly gay speaker to thank and praise.

    Oh can anyone tell me is other legal same sex marriages will be recognized in RI or will you have to PAY a CIVIL UNION TAX for another license if you find yourself living in this second class state for some reason?

    Posted by: mcNnyc | May 20, 2011 3:52:47 PM

  13. I think that Same sex "civil unions" should be just called what it is marriage and the GLBT community should NOT have to live as second class citizens of this state. I am ashamed of my home state of Rhode Island for not standing up for equality; and let's not forget we have seen this before with a case of out Virginia back in 1967, but the issue then was interracial marriage.

    Posted by: courtney | Jan 11, 2012 10:35:41 AM

Post a comment


« «Professor Goodwin Liu and the Delicate Egos of Senate Republicans« «