Rhode Island Hub

R.I. Governor Lincoln Chafee on His State and the Federal March to Marriage Equality: VIDEO


Shortly after signing Rhode Island's marriage equality bill into law, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss his state's vote and the federal march toward marriage equality. Melissa Harris-Perry was filling in for Rachel.


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Rhode Island Becomes 10th State to Pass Marriage Equality: VIDEOS


Highlights of today's final vote and signing of Rhode Island's marriage equality bill from the Providence Journal and WPRI, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee on Why Signing Marriage Equality into Law Today Will Be So Gratifying

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign the marriage equality bill today at 5:45 on the steps of the State House after the House makes its procedural vote on the bill.

ChafeeChafee writes in the NY Times about why it will be so gratifying for him:

When I first defended gay marriage in 2004, as a Republican United States senator, most of my party colleagues were extreme in their opposition. In fact, to draw a line in the sand, they scheduled a vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in June 2006 — just before the height of a campaign season.

In the end, only six Republican senators joined me in opposing the amendment: Susan Collins, Judd Gregg, John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter and John E. Sununu. Of those, only Mr. McCain and Ms. Collins remain in the Senate. Even many of those Republicans opposing a constitutional ban avoided taking a position on gay marriage by saying it was an issue best left to the states. But I went further and announced my support for full marriage equality.

I was one of only four members of the entire Senate to take that stand, along with Senators Ron Wyden, Edward M. Kennedy and Russell Feingold — three of the most socially liberal members of the chamber at the time. Hardly common company for a Republican.

As it turned out, I did lose office in 2006, as part of the general rejection of Republican leadership that year. But I was elected governor as an independent in 2010, and I was proud to see that my stand on gay marriage stood up well over the years...

Read his full piece (much more) here.

Rhode Island Governor to Sign Marriage Equality Thursday After Final (Procedural) House Vote


Rhode Island's marriage equality law will be signed on Thursday afternoon on the south steps of the State House, Governor Lincoln Chafee announced yesterday.

RiThe bill must go through one more largely procedural vote in the House, the AP reports:

The outcome of Thursday's House vote is not in doubt, as the House overwhelmingly passed an earlier version of the bill in January. The Senate passed the bill by a comfortable margin last week, but it had to return to the House because of small changes made in the Senate.

Soon, all of New England will have marriage equality as Rhode Island becomes the 10th state in the union to embrace it.

Watch a video from Chafee's swearing in in January 2011 in which he calls on lawmakers to introduce and pass a marriage equality bill, AFTER THE JUMP...

It's finally here.

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Full Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus Announces Support for Marriage Equality

As I reported earlier, the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee is set to consider a marriage equality bill today.

RiRhode Island United for Marriage reports that Senate Republicans are all on board:

It's a big day in Rhode Island, and we're excited to kick it off with some really exciting news for our campaign! This morning, the Senate Republican Caucus - including Senators Dennis Algiere, David Bates, Dawson Hodgson, Nicholas Kettle, Chris Ottiano - released a statement announcing unanimous support for S38, the bill that will extend marriage to loving same-sex couples:

We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon.  Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit.  This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.

Said RI4M campaign director Ray Sullivan:

“We are proud and humbled to have earned the support of the entire Senate Republican caucus for Senator Nesselbush’s legislation. We applaud their courage and their conviction in standing up for all loving, committed couples and their freedom to marry. That this is the first legislative caucus of either party to unanimously support marriage equality is a testament to the bravery and strength of character of these five senators. We thank them for their support, and look forward to their voting in favor of S38.” 

Rhode Island Senate Panel to Consider Marriage Equality Today

Rhode Island's Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a marriage equality bill today.

RiThe Rhode Island House passed the bill in January.

The AP reports:

The entire Senate could take up the bill by week's end if the Senate Judiciary Committee votes in favor of the measure Tuesday. The House passed the bill in January.

Supporters said they are cautiously optimistic that momentum is on their side.

"We're not there yet, but I do believe a majority of senators support granting civil rights to gay people," said Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket. Nesselbush is gay and the lead sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

Also under consideration is a separate bill that would put a marriage equality ballot measure before voters.

TobinBishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence urged the Senate to vote against it in a statement on Monday:

"As the Rhode Island Senate prepares to take action on legislation that would seek to legitimize 'same-sex marriage,' I once again urge members of the Senate to stand strong in resisting this immoral and unnecessary proposition and to defend marriage and family as traditionally defined. We should be very clear about this: it is only with grave risk to our spiritual well-being and the common good of our society that we dare to redefine what God himself has created. My prayer is that the senators will have all the wisdom and courage they need to do the right thing in this moment of decision."

Stay tuned to Towleroad - - follow us on Twitter @TLRD - for updates.


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