Today the Rhode Island House passed and Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry, making it the tenth state in the country with full marriage equality. The state House passed a similar version of the bill earlier this year but held another vote following minor changes to the Senate version. Last week PFAW President Michael Keegan released a statement celebrating passage of the bill in the state Senate.
In The New York Times yesterday, Governor Lincoln Chafee called the nationwide push for marriage equality a “historic realignment”:
“A historic realignment is happening all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this is the right thing to do. It is occurring both inside and outside of politics, through conversations at the office and over kitchen tables, and at different speeds in different parts of the country.”
Across dinner tables, in the pews, and in the halls of state legislatures, the momentum is indeed undeniable. Today’s victory will not only give equal marriage rights to committed, loving couples in Rhode Island, it will also strengthen the nationwide momentum towards marriage equality.
WASHINGTON – Today the Rhode Island Senate passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry, setting the stage for Rhode Island to become the tenth state in the nation with full marriage equality. A similar bill has already passed the State House and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has expressed his support for marriage equality in the past.
“Today marks an important step forward and a powerful victory for all Rhode Island families,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “As Rhode Island moves toward becoming the tenth state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the growing momentum for marriage equality nationwide is undeniable. Lawmakers in Rhode Island have come to see what people all over the country understand – that preventing same-sex couples from getting married brings serious harm to women and men in loving, committed relationships.”
Today, in a 63-33 vote, the Senate broke a filibuster of the nomination of John McConnell to serve as a district court judge in Rhode Island. The attempted obstruction of a district court nominee was a top priority for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent enormous lobbying resources on sinking McConnell’s nomination. The Chamber objected to McConnell’s work as a public interest lawyer in Rhode Island, where he took on lead paint manufacturers and tobacco companies on behalf of consumers.