NEW: Chafee, Roberts Applaud House Vote
Thursday, January 24, 2013
“There are certain legislative votes that can fairly be characterized as “historic.” The Rhode Island House of Representatives’ overwhelming passage of marriage equality legislation is one such vote,” Chafee said. “I think most immediately of the pioneers of the House who have been working to achieve this goal for many years. Former state representatives such as Michael Pisaturo, who first introduced the Equal Access to Marriage Act in the mid-1990s, David Cicilline, who was the lone member of the House Judiciary Committee to vote in favor of marriage equality legislation in 2001, and Ray Sullivan. And current members such as Speaker Fox, Chairwoman Ajello, Deputy Majority Leader Ferri, and Chairman Handy, the bill’s longtime sponsor. I think also of activists such as the late Julie Pell, who certainly would have been encouraged to see this significant step forward.”
Chafee cautioned, however, that that was still a “long way to go.”
“Now that the House has swiftly acted, I urge Senate leadership to “call the roll” – for our economy, for our gay and lesbian friends and neighbors, and for history,” Chafee said.
Roberts also chimed in on the news.
"Today marks a historic first step toward the legal recognition of same-sex marriages for Rhode Island gay and lesbian couples, whom we know as our neighbors and co-workers, our family members and friends,” she said. “I applaud our House of Representatives for their forward-thinking decision. As an advocate since my days in the Senate, I believe all Rhode Island couples in committed, loving relationships deserve the same rights, protections and benefits that I have enjoyed with my husband of over 30 years. It is, and always has been, an issue of basic fairness and equality."