Rhode Island Approves Marriage Equality After 26-12 Senate Vote


Rhode Island has approved marriage equality in a 26-12 Senate vote.

The Rhode Island House passed the bill in January in a 51-19 vote. It must get another, largely procedural, vote there.

Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign the bill.

Rhode Island will be the 10th U.S. state to allow gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry, and every state in New England is now a marriage equality state!

Once signed, the bill should take effect in August.

ChafeeUPDATE: Chafee released the following statement...

I am always proud to be a Rhode Islander, but never more so than today.

After yesterday’s Judiciary Committee vote, I expressed my hope that the full Rhode Island Senate would pass a bill that chooses tolerance and fairness over division and discrimination. In passing the Marriage Equality Act, they have done just that.

I thank the Senators who have taken a stand to move Rhode Island forward and commend the Senate President for calling the roll. Great credit should go to Ray Sullivan, everyone at Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, and the countless volunteers who knocked on doors and participated in phone banks. Finally, I want to applaud the pioneers, such as the late Julie Pell, who for decades have fought for the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders. This day would not have been possible without their efforts.

Pending the final vote by the House of Representatives, Rhode Island will no longer be an outlier in our region. We will have the welcome mat out. We will be open for business, and we will once again affirm our legacy as a place that is tolerant and appreciative of diversity.

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  1. For the love of everything good....can someone PLEASE please tell me where I can find a list of the 12 senators who voted no? My whole family lives in Rhode Island and are very supportive of marriage equality, and for future reference...I'd like to know...but can't find the info anywhere

    Thank you to anyone who can provide it

    Posted by: Jackson | Apr 24, 2013 9:00:08 PM

  2. Jackson, there's a pic of the vote board out there if you can't find a list--BuzzFeed has it: http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/rhode-island-senate-passes-marriage-equality

    Hope you can make out the names.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 24, 2013 9:07:47 PM

  3. The Supreme Court justices are a bunch of cowards and half of them are theocrats. They are not going to legislate for marriage equality everywhere until almost all states have done so. They pretty much said so during the Prop 8 trial. This isn't the 60s when they were less political, less partisan and more willing to actually rule on the law than appease the mob. And even then interracial marriage was legal all over the western and northern states. Only 17 or so states banned it in 1967.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 24, 2013 9:14:10 PM

  4. Few are expecting the Supreme Court to make a sweeping decision, but it will still be a huge deal if Section 3 of DOMA falls, which is expected, and a few more big states land in the equality column. Yes, it will be an uphill battle to get deep red states, but the momentum and national demographics aren't going to stand still at this point, and they're clearly on our side. The absurd patchwork of marriage laws across the US, once gay couples in some states have federal equality, is unsustainable. In other words, we have every reason to be optimistic.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 24, 2013 9:29:37 PM

  5. @InLoveinOk

    While I don't live in RI I give you my vow to brotherhood that I will not stand by in silence so long as you or any other member of my communal family continue to be oppressed.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 24, 2013 9:34:35 PM

  6. Congrats, Rhode Island! Like another poster said, personal stories of how love is love won over people's hearts and minds. I guess that Harvey Milk's words about coming out to force people to accept the gay community were right...

    Posted by: MuscleModelBlog.com | Apr 24, 2013 9:36:10 PM

  7. Are you watching this you pathetic, back stabbing, spineless shi#head Democrats in Hawaii and Illinois ?

    GREAT NEWS for Rhode Island - now on to Delaware !

    Posted by: Icebloo | Apr 24, 2013 11:40:30 PM

  8. Bravo!

    Posted by: HirsuteHeuristics | Apr 25, 2013 12:44:10 AM

  9. The equality train isn't going to stop, but the fight to pass equality is going to get a lot tougher. Actually, starting about now, after/when/if Delaware passes equality. Christie is a major roadblock to passing equality in Jersey and he's going nowhere and it's still questionable if the votes are there to override a veto against a NO vote from him. Minnesota, Illinois are up in the air on equality this year (and it needs to pass this year over the debate in an election year), Iowa Republicans are mobilizing to put equality on the ballot to try to eliminate it. And we have no shot of equality throughout most Southern states, Mountain West states and throughout much of the Midwest, for at least a handful more years.

    This is why our fight ultimately will be decided in the courts, and regardless of what happens this June, there are going to be more court cases coming. There will be more litigation, and we will do everything necessary to have everything we deserve, marriage and everything else.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 25, 2013 3:06:50 AM

  10. Yeah!

    Posted by: Rad | Apr 25, 2013 7:15:00 AM

  11. @Steve -- There's NO STOPPING this train.

    Posted by: Gigi | Apr 25, 2013 7:49:49 AM

  12. Has Brian Brown and his central committee released any statement yet? I haven't seen it in the news. Is he going to spend his millions to outst the Repulicans there or just pack up and move to France.

    Posted by: simon | Apr 25, 2013 9:28:09 AM

  13. @Jackson

    Here's a link to a graphic on the Providence Journal's website that has pictures of the 12 no votes as well as the 26 yes votes!


    I just have to say how excited I am about this for my home state!

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 25, 2013 10:51:13 AM

  14. Chris:
    It is kind of surprising. All the no votes were from Democrats. All the Republicans voted yes. Is it because it is Rhode Island?

    Posted by: simon | Apr 25, 2013 1:15:13 PM

  15. Simon,

    Yes and no... RI is the most Catholic state in the union (some surveys and such put us at about 50% Catholic) so we have some socially conservative members of our Democratic party here. The Republicans all correctly sided with marriage equality based on libertarian reasons, but also I think the fact that RI is a New England state made it easier for them.

    And cynically, it means they can use this when it's re-election time in 2014 since marriage equality is so popular in RI. As you can tell from the fact that there are only 5 Republicans in the State Senate, the state GOP here is not that strong and could use popular postions to help bolster themselves in elections.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 25, 2013 2:10:39 PM

  16. Chris:
    Thanks. You are right. That senator Meth. I have never seen even a Republican that crazy.

    Posted by: simon | Apr 25, 2013 4:07:54 PM

  17. The beauty of marriage equality in Illinois is the sheer length of that state down through the middle of the Midwest from next to Wisconsin to next to Kentucky and Missouri.
    Delaware will likely vote yes to marriage equality likely this coming Tuesday. Next year NJ could convert from civil union to marriage equality. this year might hopefully see marriage equality in MN and IL. Marriage equality is almost 4 years old in Iowa but the Iowa Senate is majority Democrat by only one person and that's all that stands between the GOP in the legislature and the residents of Iowa who want to keep marriage equality in Iowa. There are about 18 or so GOPers in the Iowa state legislature who want to kill IA marriage equality. So Iowa marriage equality must be carefully watched and protected. Mike Gronstal in the Iowa legislature is trying to protect the Iowa Senate Democrat majority as the Iowa GOP has plans for a bunch of crazy and terrible things for Iowa and one of those ugly GOP ideas is ridding IA of marriage equality.
    And IA's current Governor Terry Branstad is a GOPer.

    Posted by: mousemess | May 4, 2013 10:31:40 PM

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