The Rhode Island House of Representatives this afternoon, after a 16-year journey, passed a same-sex marriage equality bill by a vote of 51-19. The bill was fully expected to pass, and now heads to the Rhode Island Senate, where passage will be a battle. If the Senate does pass the bill, Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign the bill into law.
The same report notes words from both supporters and opponents of the bill. For example, Rep. Chris Blazejewski said:
‘We’re voting to extend the same rights that nearly all of us in this chamber have to gay & lesbian couples,’ and, ‘This is a day we celebrate the things that unite us, give us joy and love we extend them to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.’
Democratic Deputy Majority Leader Arthur Corvese allied with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and had a very different view. He called the bill the “‘single most important piece of legislation’ ever in Rhode Island’s history, or future.”
He railed against the ‘activist’ members of the gay community, the ‘activist judges,’ and ‘activist lawmakers’ … .
“Gay marriage,” he claimed, isn’t about love or civil rights.
Zack Ford, at Think Progress adds this context:
An October poll showed that 56 percent of Rhode Island voters support marriage equality. Same-sex marriages from other states are already recognized by state agencies. After over a year of offering civil unions, less than 100 couples bothered to obtain one. All other states in New England — Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut — already recognize and offer same-sex marriages.
Meanwhile, DOMA remains the law of the land. As always, every victory at the state level is definitely good progress. Removing DOMA, of course, has to be the national goal for marriage equality.
(Marriage Not Gay Marriage poster via Wipe Out Homophobia on FB)