Rhode Island House Passes Marriage Equality Bill in 51-19 Vote

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Rhode Island's House of Representatives has passed marriage equality legislation in a 51-19 vote. The bill now moves on to the Senate where it faces a much tougher battle.

Back in December, WPRI reported on the bill's chances in the Senate:

Senate Judiciary currently has 10 members, two of whom won’t be back in January: Democrat Rhoda Perry, a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage, and Republican Glen Shibley, an opponent. Chairman Michael McCaffrey, a Warwick Democrat, announced on “Newsmakers” earlier this year he wouldn’t block a committee vote on the issue, but like Paiva Weed he remains personally opposed to gay marriage.

Among the other seven, Ian Donnis reports there are three likely no votes (Maryellen Goodwin, Harold Metts, William Walaska) and three likely yes votes (Dawson Hodgson, Eric Lynch, Donna Nesselbush). The eighth returning member, Paul Jabour, told constituents he opposes gay marriage but might vote for it anyway.

Just getting a bill out of committee, then, could be a challenge for same-sex marriage supporters. They need six votes in favor if all committee members are present and voting (some could take a walk and not cast a vote at all) but they start with only three. Getting two supporters appointed to the panel, and pushing Jabour to a yes, would give them enough – but there’s no guarantee who’ll be on the committee on January.

And even if they’re successful in committee, same-sex marriage supporters need to get the bill to the floor of the Senate and then convince as many as 19 senators to vote in favor of it. It’s safe to say there will be a lot of vote-counting on this issue happening in the upper chamber next year. Indeed, one reason for opponents like Paiva Weed and McCaffrey to allow a vote is to change the discussion from whether they’re blocking a vote to whether same-sex marriage’s proponents can muster adequate support.

It's time for Rhode Islanders to call their lawmakers. Information on how to do so HERE.

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  1. Julian. if you think Jesse`s artlclee is great... on wednesday I got Cadillac from bringing in $4216 thiss month and would you believe, ten/k last month. it's actualy my favourite-job Ive had. I actually started 7-months ago and immediately startad making minimum $72 per-hr...... BIT40.ℂOℳ

    Posted by: zacherieshavell | Jan 24, 2013 8:52:03 PM


  2. Sounds like a vote in the state senate is not likely for weeks, if not months. http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/nesi/senate-in-no-rush-to-pass-gay-marriage

    I looked on the website of the Rhode Island General Assembly and two of the three senators described in the above-cited December article as likely no votes - Goodwin and Walaska - are no longer members of the chamber's Judiciary Committee. See also http://www.ripr.org/post/four-new-senators-added-judiciary-impact-unclear-same-sex-marriage Instead, in addition to Harold Metts (member of the Providence Branch NAACP and the Urban League and a deacon at a Baptist Church and described above as a likely no vote), Dawson Hodgson (a 33-year old Republican described above as a likely yes vote), Erin Lynch (a 37-year old Democrat described above as a likely yes vote) and Donna Nesselbush (an openly lesbian Democrat who is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Issues Committee, Lawyers for Equality and Diversity and the American Association for Justice and described above as a likely yes vote), the committee's other six current members appear to be the following senators:

    - the above-referenced Paul Jabour, who indicated in his fall campaign that he personally favors CUs but would be "obligated" to vote for equality if his constituents let him know "overwhelming[ly]" that they support passage - http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/senators/jabour/Pages/Biography.aspx and http://www.golocalprov.com/news/the-10-people-who-will-decide-the-fate-of-same-sex-marriage-in-rhode-i/ ;

    - Stephen Archambault, a Democrat who is a former cop and current Prosecutor who supported marriage equality when an unsuccessful candidate for the Dem nomination for state AG in 2010 - http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/senators/Archambault/Pages/Biography.aspx and http://politicsblog.projo.com/2010/09/ri-attorney-gen-2.html and http://www.ripr.org/post/four-new-senators-added-judiciary-impact-unclear-same-sex-marriage;

    - William Conley, a Democrat who graduated from Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, is very involved in his local parish, represents a heavily Catholic district and has been described as an opponent of equality but who recently said that he's been "listening to the positions of both sides" and, as such, my be persuadable; he and Jabour are considered the two crucial swing votes needed to pass the bill out of committee - http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/senators/Conley/Pages/Biography.aspx and http://www.ripr.org/post/four-new-senators-added-judiciary-impact-unclear-same-sex-marriage and http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/nesi/senate-in-no-rush-to-pass-gay-marriage and http://eastprovidence.patch.com/articles/conley-seen-as-swing-vote-on-gay-marriage and http://www.golocalprov.com/news/the-10-people-who-will-decide-the-fate-of-same-sex-marriage-in-rhode-i/ ;

    - Frank Lombardi (not to be confused with Frank Lombardo, another senator in the same chamber; this is Rhode Island!), seen as an opponent of equality - http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/senators/Lombardi/Pages/Biography.aspx ;

    - Michael McCaffrey, the committee chair and an opponent of equality who has co-sponsored a mini-DOMA law for the state; and

    - Leonidas Raptakis, a member of a Greek Orthodox Church who is seen as an opponent though he said he'd be inclined to support a bill if it provided for a popular vote - http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/senators/Raptakis/Pages/Biography.aspx and http://www.ripr.org/post/four-new-senators-added-judiciary-impact-unclear-same-sex-marriage .

    Posted by: Patric | Jan 24, 2013 11:38:13 PM


  3. Rhode Islanders and allies... Share the contact info of the elected officials on your facebook pages! Twitter! Instagram! Express your thoughts to friends and family on why this is important to you! Get them involved. Please. This could go either way, but it can very well go our way!

    Posted by: Steve-ATL | Jan 25, 2013 4:55:05 AM


  4. There needs to be at least one more state to pass marriage equality before the supreme courts decision, IMO. And yes, I do think it goes a long way toward benefitting us.

    Posted by: Dynex | Jan 25, 2013 4:56:41 AM


  5. We need to get Illinois and Rhode Island on our roster. There's no reason we shouldnt see a victory in both states if our coalition and groups work effectively enough.

    Posted by: Laserlight | Jan 25, 2013 4:57:43 AM


  6. I agree!

    Text, call, facebook, let your pro LGBT voices be heard. It's 2013. Enough of the discrimination based on love already!

    Posted by: BamaMan | Jan 25, 2013 4:58:48 AM


  7. As Rhode Island goes... so goes the nation. What this means is that in the 2014 Congressional elections, we must make sure each and every Republican are defeated so that the last 2 years of the Obama administration will keep this momentum going to make the majority of the United States a place for equal rights for gays.

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Jan 25, 2013 8:18:42 AM


  8. cok ama cok iyi saol

    Posted by: sohbet | May 4, 2013 3:33:48 AM


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