Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Marriage Equality Bill in 7-4 Vote


After a very brief debate, Rhode Island's Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced the marriage equality bill to the full Senate in a 7-4 vote.

The entire Senate could take up the bill as early as tomorrow.

Rhode Islanders United for Marriage released a statement:

“This is an incredible and historic step forward in the campaign to ensure all loving, committed couples in Rhode Island have the freedom to marry,” said Ray Sullivan, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage campaign director. “We are pleased and proud that the members of the Judiciary Committee were so receptive to the thousands of their constituents who reached out and urged them to vote yes on Senator Nesselbush’s bill. We will continue to connect the supermajority of Rhode Islanders who support marriage equality with their senators before a floor vote, and believe we have the momentum to achieve victory on this critical issue.”

In addition to S38, the committee also voted 6-5 to defeat S708, which would have put marriage equality to a statewide referendum in 2014.

“Members of the committee heard from their constituents in strong opposition to putting fundamental rights on the ballot, and we thank them for defeating this divisive and harmful referendum bill.”

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  1. Things should be easy in RI because of the historic step made by Senate Republicans in the state but it's not because of Senate Democrats. What a reversal from the norm. Hopefully RI passes equality!

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 23, 2013 7:07:41 PM

  2. Has anyone really counted votes in the Senate? With the 5 Senate Republicans on board, will that overcome the conservative Dems and the Catholic-Church-arm-twisted Dems who will vote "no"?

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Apr 23, 2013 7:46:19 PM

  3. YES! The walls of bigotry are falling down step by step. Still lots of work to do for our friends in the south and LGBT across small towns, but this inches us closer to that

    Posted by: Jordan | Apr 23, 2013 8:03:53 PM

  4. Middleoftheroader,
    it's a done deal in Rhode Island. Equality groups have been confident for 2 months that the dem votes are there to pass marriage equality in the state. This judiciary vote was the most problematic and crucial...and it FINALLY passed.

    On a side note, be more optimistic and positive in your outlooks :) being in the middle of the road for the sake of it can lead to perpetual lack of excitment

    Posted by: RI Proud | Apr 23, 2013 8:05:59 PM

  5. Ashamed of the RI Democrats.
    Will not be lending voice or monetary support for reelection bids for ANY legislator that votes against equality.

    A heartfelt 'Thank You' to the Republican caucus. Please try and talk some sense into your national representatives.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 23, 2013 8:43:26 PM

  6. SCOTUS are you listening?

    Posted by: Clayton | Apr 23, 2013 10:26:53 PM

  7. Here is my whip count going by Googling articles that mention their position (some of them also testified at the Judiciary Committee hearing last month):

    In Rhode Island, here are the confirmed yes votes going by Google searches of their statements on marriage equality;

    Algiere (R)
    Archambault (D)
    Bates (R)
    Conley (D)
    Crowley (D)
    Doyle (D)
    Gallo (D)
    Goldin (D)
    Hodgson (R)
    Jabour (D)
    Kettle (R)
    Lynch (D)
    Miller (D)
    Nesselbush (D)
    Ottiano (R)
    Pearson (D)
    Pichardo (D)
    Rumsey (D)
    Satchell (D)
    Sheehan (D)
    Sosnowski (D)

    21/38 (20 needed to pass)


    Daponte (D) (Yes, provided he is satisfied with religious exemptions)
    Raptakis (D) (maybe)
    Felag (D) (maybe)

    Posted by: Bill S. | Apr 23, 2013 11:09:06 PM

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