It’s as good as done. Marriage equality will be marriage reality with one more trip through the House, and a swipe of the governor’s pen. Just in time for wedding season!
The Rhode Island Senate made history today passing S38 by a 26 to 12 vote, making Rhode Island the tenth state in the union to extend all of the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.
The House of Representatives passed the bill back in January, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 7-to-4, passed the bill to the floor of the senate, recommending passage. The Senate did amend the bill, so it has to be ratified again by the House before making an appearance on the governor’s desk.
The air was electrified in the Senate Chamber before the President Paiva-Weed rapped her gavel and brought the Senate to order. Bill sponsors and supporters garnered applause from the gallery as they entered the chamber
Sen. Donna Nesselbush, lead sponsor of the bill, and now bride-to-be, said, “I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be prouder for Rhode Island and my colleagues in the Senate. Today is truly an historic day.”
The fight for marriage equality began in the Rhode Island General Assembly way back in 1997, when then Senator Rhoda Perry – who was in attendance for the vote – introduced the first same sex marriage bill.
All five Republicans in the Senate voted in favor of the bill. Senator Dawson Hodgson said of the GOP’s support of the bill, “This is what we see as the consistent application of true conservative principles; principles of freedom and dignity.”
Ray Sullivan, Campaign director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage Equality, was ecstatic, “This has been an incredible journey, and we’re finishing with the same strength that we started with. We have expanded our rights.”