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.


  1. RI legal says


    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.

  2. mcNnyc says

    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.

  3. blatherer says

    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.

  4. Javier says

    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.

  5. Ken says

    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.

  6. says

    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 ?

  7. Ken says

    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.

  8. mcNnyc says

    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?

  9. courtney says

    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.

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