House Approves Same-sex Marriage

The proposal to guarantee marriage rights to all Rhode Islanders now moves onto the state Senate. Cranston's Rep. Arthur Handy introduced the bill.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted 51 to 19 today to allow same-sex couples to marry in Rhode Island, the Legislature announced in a release.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Arthur Handy of Cranston, who has introduced the bill for each of the last 11 years, said the measure is about justice and equity for same-sex couples, but is also emotional and personal for so many who have worked for years for marriage equality.

“Obviously, this issue is about fairness and allowing all Rhode Islanders to have equal access to the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage, but marriage is about so much more than legal protections," Handy said in a release. "My wife and I have been married since 1997, and as we’ve worked together to raise our son, the value of having a committed, strong family has become more apparent to us over time. All Rhode Islanders deserve to enjoy that security and support, and deserve to have their family recognized as equal to others.

"It feels good to see how far we’ve come in Rhode Island toward valuing all families, and I know we are close to the day when marriage equality becomes law here,” the Cranston representative added.

Forty-two of the 75 House members sponsored the bill, and the House Judiciary Committee approved it unanimously. The Seante is the final hurdle as Gov. Lincoln Chafee has pledged to sign it if the Senate approves it as well, the Statehouse release states.

The bill removes gender-specific language from the section of the general laws that governs eligibility for marriage. It inserts language that allows any person to marry any other eligible person, regardless of gender, effective immediately upon adoption of the bill.

It contains a provision that allows couples who entered into civil unions in Rhode Island to convert those unions to marriages, and automatically converts all remaining civil unions that have not been dissolved by Jan. 1, 2014, into marriages on that date. 

The bill reiterates the right of religious institutions to set their own guidelines for marriage eligibility within their faith.

Rhode Island is the only New England state that does not allow same-sex marriage. Currently nine states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex couples to marry.

In September, a WPRI poll of 501 likely voters in Rhode Island found that 56 percent of Rhode Islanders support same-gender marriage, and only 36 percent oppose it.

Dan Johnson February 13, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Again, this is your chosen translation, which ignores 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. "According to Jesus, born eunuchs are exempt from the Adam and Eve style heterosexual marriage paradigm. Eunuchs so born from their mother’s womb. These eunuchs, according to Jesus, were born that way. They did not make a personal choice to be eunuchs and they were not physically castrated by men." Some Christians believe these men were gay. Your chosen translation allows you to harm others. This one is consistent with the message to treat others as you would yourself.
Dan Johnson February 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Here again, your choice of belief allows you to harm others by ignoring the Golden Rule. Attempts to change sexual orientation have been shown to be ineffective as well as harmful. When people buy the prejudice you promote, and eventually realize they cannot "pray away the gay", many are driven to despair and self destructive behavior including suicide. At best, immersion in a religious based program relying on shame and guilt, only temporarily allows gay people to suppress their orientation. Eventually it comes out, and often in destructive ways for both themselves and those around them. I know this from personal experience, the experiences of many I know, as well as education and professional experience. Chastity is not a natural or realistic requirement, and change of sexual orientation is unrealistic if not impossible.
Dan Johnson February 14, 2013 at 12:11 AM
Suffering and death are the extreme results of the belief being gay is not acceptable and we must change to heterosexual or live a life of chastity and denial of our humanity. Not all Christian groups judge and condemn, and some accept gay people as we are without condition. But those who demonize and punish us are killing us, and many of us reach a point where we decide to fight back rather than kill ourselves or accept dehumanization quietly. Unless we accept punishment and dehumanization as a way of life, we have no choice but to challenge and oppose prejudice no matter where is comes from, and whether it is mild or extreme. Decades of history, literature, and science, in addition to trial records of many different courts have all clearly demonstrated: Prejudice and discrimination cause suffering and death.
Robert E February 14, 2013 at 12:38 AM
The commandments of god only apply to his chosen people and not to anyone else.
Robert E February 14, 2013 at 12:49 AM
The God of the Bible is completely irrelevant. For arguments sake, let’s assume that the Christians are right and that all people who have ever lived will be before the judgement seat of god. A simple bit of logic shows how the judgement doled out there is completely irrelevant. God is perfect. God created all people with the abilities and situations to be who they are. If God is perfect, then perfect judgement would take into account every single detail of a person’s being, including the ability god gave that person to make all decisions. Thus, perfect judgement from a perfect creator would indicate that ALL people would have to receive the same judgement. All things being equal, all things are equal.


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