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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marriage Equality Wins in the Senate, 26 to 12

Thank you to local Senators Dennis Algiere, Cathie Rumsey, Sue Sosnowski
By Will Collette

Only two more steps – and two relatively easy ones at that – and Rhode Island will join the rest of New England in acknowledging the civil rights of gay couples. The RI Senate passed its version of marriage equality legislation by a vote of 26 to 12. 

Up until the vote, no one really expected such a wide margin. Indeed, until the small Republican Senate Caucus, led by Sen. Dennis Algiere (R-Westerly, Charlestown, So. Kingstown) came out in unanimous support of marriage equality, simple passage was far from a certainty.

It took the Republicans to shame the on-the-fence Democrats to join in this historic vote.

Since the Senate version of the bill is slightly different than the one passed overwhelmingly by the House (51-19), the Senate bill now goes back to the House for final legislative passage. I predict the victory margin there will grow. 

It will certainly grow by one vote, Donna Walsh’s, because Donna was out-of-state when the first vote took place. As a co-sponsor of the House bill and a long-time staunch marriage equality supporter, I know she will add to the affirmative count.

Then the bill goes to Governor Lincoln Chafee for his signature and he has made it clear that he will sign the bill. This will probably take place in a matter of days.

I’m sure just about every reader has a family member or friend who is gay. I would like to think that you would not wish to deny family or friends equal justice under law and the respect that is due them as human beings. 

While the devoutly religious may view the enactment of marriage equality as a threat, I think in a year’s time, they will come to understand that nothing has changed in their lives. But for gay and lesbian couples, this is a life-changing event that I would hope all people of good will can celebrate.
ITEM 1           2013-S 38 SUB A
Nesselbush       JUDICIARY
YEAS - 26  NAYS - 12  NOT VOTING - 0  RECUSED - 0

Y  Algiere
Y  Archambault
Y  Bates
N  Ciccone 
Y  Conley
Y  Cool Rumsey
N  Cote 
Y  Crowley
Y  Da Ponte
N  DiPalma
Y  Doyle
N  Felag 
Y  Fogarty
Y  Gallo
Y  Goldin
Y  Goodwin
Y  Hodgson
Y  Jabour
Y  Kettle
N  Lombardi 
Y  Lombardo
Y  Lynch
N  McCaffrey
N  Metts

Y  Miller
Y  Nesselbush
N  O'Neill 
Y  Ottiano
Y  Pearson
N  Picard
Y  Pichardo
Y  Raptakis
N  Ruggerio
Y  Satchell
Y  Sheehan
Y  Sosnowski
N  Walaska
N  Paiva Weed