Rhode Island legislature passes gay marriage bill, governor will sign

Wow, just when you’re not paying attention, Rhode Island goes ahead and legalizes gay marriage (well, just another pro forma vote left).

I’m told same-sex marriages in Rhode Island should begin August 1.

It’s funny – the religious right, working with their Republican handlers, always used to yell and scream about “activist judges” imposing their will on the American people.

But now that the American people are imposing their will on the American people – in Rhode Island, the legislation passed the legislature – the anti-gay bigots are scrambling for a new message.

Here’s the moment the law passed – you can watch a video of it over on Buzzfeed – I love the little boy and the old man in this photo below:


The moment the gay marriage legislation passed the Rhode Island Senate, assuring its eventual enactment into law.

And here’s a list of where else, in the US, and internationally, that gay marriage is legal.

From Freedom to Marry, the lead group fighting for gay marriage nationwide.

RI Senate Passes Marriage Bill, Assuring Rhode Island Freedom to Marry for Rhode Island
Passage Means Freedom to Marry in All Six New England States

Providence – Today the Rhode Island Senate approved legislation that would end the denial of marriage to same-sex couples in Rhode Island. The House of Representatives approved similar legislation in January by a vote of 51 to 19. The bill will return to the House for minor changes before it is sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has promised to sign it.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“New England is now complete. Through court rulings, legislative action, and wins at the ballot, loving and committed couples from Bangor to Burlington, Providence to Portland, and Cambridge to Concord will soon be able to join in the freedom to marry.

“Freedom to Marry is proud to be a lead partner in Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the advocacy campaign that led this year’s effort. We’d like to thank the leadership of our partners in the work, especially Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, both of which have worked for years to bring about this victory. Thank you to House Speaker Gordon Fox, House bill sponsor Art Handy, Senate bill sponsor Donna Nesselbush, and the Senate GOP Caucus, which voted unanimously in favor of the freedom to marry legislation.”

In addition to its leadership with Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, Freedom to Marry has been the lead funder of the campaign, providing more than $250,000 to the effort in 2013.

When Governor Chafee signs the bill into law, same-sex couples will be able to marry in ten states and the District of Columbia–unless another state completes action prior to then. In the coming weeks, action is expected on freedom to marry legislation in Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota and Nevada.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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32 Responses to “Rhode Island legislature passes gay marriage bill, governor will sign”

  1. Love the line about the “little kid” and the “old man.” The boy is our son, Matthew Lannon, who testified before the Senate Judiciary committee in March. He met Tony DeLuca, whose daughter, Luisa is a lesbian, during the hearings and they have become close friends since. Matthew sat between Tony and Sylvia during the vote on Wednesday holding hands. Really touching and beautiful! Thanks for the post. Maryellen


  2. Sweetie says:

    Satan is what they call their mirror reflection.

  3. BeccaM says:

    Sorry, but the city council’s vote doesn’t have any particular legal standing as yet. Please see my comment up-thread, with the link to the KOB.com report.

    They’re expressing an opinion and asking the state attorney to issue a clarification.

  4. d3clark says:

    True. The video shows that. Johnson gets reminded that he’s used a slur. Tries to laff it off. And the other good ole neanderthals laugh with him. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/18/oklahoma-lawmaker-i-apologize-to-the-jews-for-jew-me-down-slur/ The vaginista in NH fought back, telling people how intelligent he is. The “I-helped-build-houses-for-colored-folks” cluless and only Republicanly repentant. (“If I DID offend anyone . . .”). And the wetback’s friend, the same.

  5. Butch1 says:

    Congratulations to Rhode Island! Welcome to the Marriage States Forty to go.

  6. nicho says:

    The trouble is that shame doesn’t work any more. They wear shame as a badge of honor, the same way they do with ignorance.

  7. nicho says:

    Bingo. I’ve been saying this for years. At the very least, it’s same-sex marriage.

  8. rmthunter says:

    The thing about “full faith and credit” is that there’s a long-standing exemption for public policy — thus, Mississippi is not required to recognize marriages performed in New York because that would conflict with the public policy of Mississippi. That’s why no one is challenging Section 2 of DOMA — it’s redundant, and there would be no point.

  9. MoonDragon says:

    And Anne Hutchenson. Don’t forget Anne.

  10. rmthunter says:

    “But now that the American people are imposing their will on the American people – in Rhode Island, the legislation passed the legislature – the anti-gay bigots are scrambling for a new message.”

    We heard that message when New York passed its marriage bill — “elite legislators ignoring the will of the people.”

    Yeah, right.

  11. AnitaMann says:

    Yes, I expect the final tipping point for legislative action, barring any SCOTUS decision that comes before it will be 30ish states. The holdouts, all in the republican L down the plains states and across Dixie, will have to suck it up.

  12. vonlmo says:

    “gay marriage”? Has the Republican-lead branding been that successful ? Try the more appropriate term, “marriage EQUALITY”, next time, will ya hon?

  13. that’s right! Roger Williams was way ahead of his time. I like to think he would be pleased by today’s vote.

  14. I testified before the Senate judiciary 10 years ago when I was in college, and I’ve been signing petitions and writing my representatives and demonstrating ever since. I am so thankful this finally happened in the state I grew up in, especially since it’s the most Catholic state in the country. All 5 GOP senators voted in favor of it, too. The RI state motto is “hope,” and that is what today’s ruling has given us.

  15. BeccaM says:

    Meanwhile here in New Mexico:

    The Santa Fe City Council voted on a resolution to support same sex marriage Wednesday night.
    After over an hour of discussion, five city councilors voted for same sex marriage, one voted no, and two abstained from voting. The passage of this resolution doesn’t change the law, but it does encourage county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. It also pushes for the Attorney General to issue an opinion clarifying New Mexico’s law.

    After the vote, supporters of same sex marriage erupted in applause. “I have never felt such joy. It’s amazing. This is about equality,” supporter Carol Norris said.

    But opponents of the resolution had some strong words for what happened. “Satan is, I believe…and I really mean this, Satan is down in Hell clapping at this point over what they have just done,” Father Duncan Lanum at St. Thomas Anglican Church said.

    (emphasis added) Satan indeed, Father, but I don’t think he started until you spoke up with your bigoted homophobic objections to this vote for fairness and equality under civil law.


    The story concludes with, “He said he fears this will also just further divide the residents of Santa Fe.”

    Yeah, it’ll divide the bigots from the tolerant, the forgiving, and the enlightened. I can live with that.

  16. theophrastvs says:

    yeah, i thought about Arkansas too; but i think that overly-lit shiny white temple on the hill will trump any political cowardice (in other states). oh, to be sure, i would be ecstatic if this were resolved sanely at the national level – but the last vestiges of my hope for government on the national level have been strangled.

  17. BeccaM says:

    That’s my hope, too, that it all becomes moot when ‘full faith & credit’ and ‘equal protection’ are cited as to why nobody legally married, whether gay or straight, can be denied marriage rights in another state or by the feds.

  18. BeccaM says:

    Sorry, I can’t abide violence, even suggested metaphorically. Just how I am.

    Mostly I want ’em exposed, shamed, and drummed far, far out of public life and political office.

  19. d3clark says:

    I’m thinking suspended from a tree by a rope might send a clearer message. Or Rand could authorize a drone strike. Seriously, they should probably keep paying him-just at the lower minimum wage that he was fighting for.

    You’re right, the GOP seems to be working more quickly to slam these fools and do rapid damage control. Good news is, in spite of damage control, the Titanic still went down.

  20. Czarina Flo says:

    Congratulations, Rhode Island! Now where the hell is Illinois?
    As far as the discussion on the last state, I believe Nate Silver calls Mississippi as #50. But I’d much rather SCOTUS would grow some balls and ovaries and do it right, sigh.

  21. Naja pallida says:

    I’m hoping there won’t be a single last state, and that something at the federal level – be it Congress or the Supreme Court, just fixes it. The same way most other civil marriage laws have ended up being resolved.

  22. Benjamin says:

    That’s Maryellen Butke’s kid. He’s the boy who gave that speech in the judiciary committee a month ago about his moms (http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2013/03/providence-boys-testimony-that-his-moms-should-be-able-to-marry-resonates-a.html).

    Butke (the lady raising her arms under the “26”), on the other hand, is an asshole lobbyist for the education privatization assholes and thankfully lost her senate primary race against Gayle Goldin (the excellent senator who gave the speech today about knowing something about religious discrimination, since she grew up Jewish in the south, and a teacher tried to baptize her in class in order to save her soul).

    And there you have it.

  23. BeccaM says:

    I would say Arkansas, but my money is on Virginia. They’re still trying to keep their anti-sodomy laws, after all, and were the state that took their ban against interracial marriage all the way to the Supreme Court.

  24. BeccaM says:

    According to a subsequent article, Steve Kush has been ‘suspended indefinitely without pay’ from his post as executive director for the Bernalillo County GOP.


    He’s since apologized for being a moron. Not sure if they’ll reinstate him.

    But hey, it’s progress anyway.

  25. theophrastvs says:

    y’ever wonder which will be the last state? i got a fiver that says utah.

  26. d3clark says:

    Unfortunately, a NM Republican just demonstrated how the GOP is working to re-market itself to women. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/steve-kush-new-mexico-gop-radical_n_3148039.html I guess it’s an improvement over New Hampshire. In NM, women are “bitches” and “hot.” In NH, they are “vaginas.”

  27. BeccaM says:

    Good for them.

    Wish my state (NM) would get off its dusty butt and pass us some marriage equality…

  28. UncleBucky says:

    WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!

    If this happens, then Stewie Griffin is going to have to get married.

    YOU KNOW HOW MANY STRAIGHT MARRIAGES that will screw up????

    Wait a sec… I’m crunching it in Excel….

    BLAST!!!! You idiot program!!!!!

    Zero. Each time it comes up Zero ZERO! BLAHHHST!!!

  29. samiinh says:

    I’m so glad the amendments that would have put it to a plebiscite was defeated. So wrong to put the rights of a minority up to a public vote, no matter what Chris Christie thinks.

  30. MoonDragon says:

    There are some incredible venues for receptions in Newport. And the whole damned state was founded by people who put a premium on conscience.

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