The state of Rhode Island is currently the only New England state that doesn’t allow gay couples to marry, but that may soon change. The Associated Press confirmed Thursday that the Rhode Island House overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow couples to marry by a margin of 51-19. The bill will now move to the Senate.
The passing of the bill on Thursday was to be expected by supporters and opponents who now know the biggest test will be when it does hit the Senate where Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed presents an obstacle as she currently opposes the legislation. Pavia said just last week that she couldn’t support the legislation as written but if it passes she will allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to review and vote on the bill if it passes the House.
Supporters are optimistic and very hopeful that Rhode Island will be the final New England state to allow gay couples to marry. Ken Fish, a 70-year-old Warwick resident, called the vote “history in the making”.
He told the Associated Press:
“Go back 10 years, even five years, and I wasn’t sure we’d ever get here. We’re not done yet, but this is a big one.”
Fish, who has been with his partner for over 25 years and have waited all of those years to see Rhode Island pass gay marriage, is one of many gay men and women hoping their love and devotion will be recognized legally as a marriage bond. But just as supporters are hoping to drive off the national momentum gained by recent marriage equality victories in the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington state, opponents are relying on marriage laws to stay the same.
One opponent, Christopher Plante, director of the state chapter of the National Institute for Marriage, said that “Rhode Islanders care about marriage and they don’t want to see it redefined.”
But people like Ken Fish, who have been involved in a long and loving relationship, is defining what the bond of marriage is about.