RI Lawmaker Wants Gay Marriage Vote Next Year

GordonFoxMere weeks after Gov. Lincoln Chafee ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state, House Speaker and longtime gay ally Gordon Fox says he plans to schedule another vote on equality next year.

…Fox told WPRI-TV's "Newsmakers" Friday he will schedule a vote early in the General Assembly session. He called the legalization of same-sex marriage "unfinished business" and "one of the main reasons" he's running again.

Fierce opposition from some last year prompted the Legislature to abandon a gay marriage bill and approve civil unions instead. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed was among the opponents.

Marriage Equality Rhode Island says it "appreciates" Fox's commitment to holding a vote and that all eyes have turned to the Senate. The group says it's working with others to elect lawmakers supportive of gay marriage.

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted last year that 50% of Rhode Island citizens want to see marriage equality pass, while only 41% oppose it.


  1. Mary says

    Rhode Island is a pretty liberal state and may be ready to pass marriage equality next year, but a lot will depend on what is done in the 4 states that are voting on the issue this November. If the anti-equality forces prevail in all 4 states (a real possibility) they may want to delay a Rhode Island vote until public opinion shifts more. Too many losses at once causes activists to lose hope and get overly angry and cynical. I suppose people who know the state of Rhode Island better than I do (I’m a NYC girl) would know when the right time has come.

  2. Stefan says

    A victory in Maine is a near statistical certianty. Washington will likely be a victory too, although it’ll be much closer then Maine. Minnesota and Maryland are tossups.

  3. says

    It would only make sense for RI to pass marriage equality. Since out-of-state marriages are recognized, it just means they’re losing out financially on people leaving to get married, and the lack of in-state equality makes no sense aside from making RI seem backwards compared to its neighbors. While things are looking positive in ME, the outcome there shouldn’t affect what happens in RI, IF the votes are there. As we saw in (Republican-majority) NH the backlash against equality is very short-lived in NE, particularly if there is no referendum process. Soon enough, it will be settled in New England–the rest of the country has a ways to go.

  4. Javier says

    PPP polls tend to overestimate liberal and Democratic support, and yet, even their polls, show support for same-sex marriage in Maine at a modest 50 percent, which is very low relative to other New England states. I doubt there is enough political pressure to get it passed in a fairly conservative state like RI. Further, same-sex marriage is still not likely to pass in Maine this year. The polls there have not been much better, and we know that polls always overestimate the size of the pro-gay vote and especially underestimate the size of the anti-gay vote. Moreover, Maine voters just voted to veto same-sex marriage and have a long history of voting in favor of anti-gay marriage. We may win in Washington state, but the polls there are not particularly great for us in light of the documented tendency of polls to seriously underestimate the antigay vote everywhere.

  5. says

    @Javier: If yours had been the prevailing attitude in the states that now have marriage equality, they wouldn’t have marriage equality. It never happens by magic; it happens by people working together to make it happen.

  6. Ken says

    With Stefan and Javier we have a couple of pretty different views on Maine! The truth is somewhere in between, we are ahead and should win, but victory is far from a certainty.

  7. AJ says

    Some of your are defeatists, and moreover, while you make projections about how we’re destined to lose…Javier…what are YOU doing to fight for equality? When you come on here mouthing off how “it’s a certainty LGBT will lose” and that’s the only thing you contribute to the matter, than it says that you’re celebrating a potential loss and are trying to discourage our activists.

    We, the LGBT, are so passionate for attaining our rights in society that loss or not…THIS IS OUR LIFE AND WE’RE OUT FOR BLOOD. We will never give up. So YOU can choose to be as discouraged as you want, but if you thinks we the LGBT will be silenced even with a loss..think again. We’ll just make the issue more prominent so all anyone hears is gay, gay, gay. Because…we’re here to stay.

  8. Stefan says

    Actually the PPP tends to show lower levels of support for marriage equality then other polls, and yet the most recent one in Maine showed 54% support. In face every poll recently in Maine has shown our side at around or above 55% support. NO polls back in 2009 showed us at that level of support.

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