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|R.I. House votes for marriage equality; bill also introduced in Hawaii|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|January 24, 2013 18:25|
The Rhode Island House of Representatives today approved a bill that would allow legal marriages between same-sex couples. The vote was 51-19.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent, last week urged his state's legislature to move forward on marriage and to give him a bill to sign. Democrats listened and quickly advanced a marriage equality bill through the House.
“Rhode Island, as you all know, has a legacy of tolerance. It is the ideal upon which we were founded,” Chafee said Jan. 14. “It is time to honor and affirm that legacy by ensuring that same-sex couples can enjoy the same fundamental rights, benefits and privileges as all other citizens of our state.”
Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Senate will consider a bill brought forth by state Sen. Donna Nesselbush, an out lesbian and member of the state senate's Judiciary Committee. If the measure is approved by the state Senate, it will go to the governor.
Rhode Island is the only New England state that has yet to enact marriage equality. The state does recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions, however.
And halfway across the globe, the marriage equality debate returned today to Hawaii as a bill was introduced in the State House and Senate.
The Human Rights Campaign announced it would mobilize volunteers in a joint campaign called Hawaii United for Marriage. The organization's Western Regional Field Director Tony Wagner and Senior Regional Field Organizer Adrian Matanza will travel to the state to help coordinate efforts there.
All of this in a week when National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said marriage equality was not a “civil right” and chastised President Barack Obama's comparison of Stonewall, the site of the 1969 riot that sparked the modern gay rights revolution, to the attack on peaceful African-American civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Ala.
Brown is obviously still reeling from the anti-gay group's bitter November disappointment.
As marriage efforts continue to advance, Brown's audience is going to continue to shrink and his victories become increasingly rare. Maybe that's why NOM has spent so much time meddling in France's marriage battle.
Top photo: R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (via Facebook)
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