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NEW: House of Representatives Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Rhode Island is halfway through the process of becoming the latest state in the country, and the final one in New England, to legalize same-sex marriage.

Just two days after a bill by Representative Arthur Handy made it through a historic vote by the House Oversight Committee, the full floor of the House of Representatives debated the measure today and in a lopsided and somewhat expected vote approved the legislation by a final count of 51-19.

The passage was not without heated discussion as proponents for and against the issue weighed in during last-minute attempts to sway the House.

“This bill has been called marriage equality but this is really about family equality,” Rep. Joseph M. McNamara said. “I would ask that we support these fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Rhode Islanders.”

“Budgets will come and go, unemployment will rise and fall, the poor will always be with us, the rich will always be taxed,” Rep. Arthur Corvese said. “But this is an irrevocable societal game-changer.”

With the bill’s passage through the House, the hot-button social issue now heads to the make it-or-break it stage as the State’s Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of those in favor of overturning the state’s endorsement of civil unions in favor of full-fledged, legally-defined marriage for same-gender couples.


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