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Rhode Island moves toward marriage equality

Rhode Island's same-sex marriage bill will now go to the Senate.
/ Source: Melissa Harris Perry

Rhode Island's same-sex marriage bill will now go to the Senate.

Rhode Island is one step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage.

The R.I. House met Thursday to vote on a bill that had been approved in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week. The bill, which passed the House 51-19, would grant full legal rights to same-sex couples in the state. Rhode Island had previously approved a bill in 2011 that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.

The bill now heads to the State Senate, where WPRI reports a “contentious battle is expected to unfold.” Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, a Democrat, has stated her opposition for the bill–but said she will not block a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rhode Island Congressman Arthur Handy, a co-sponsor of the bill, told Thomas Roberts Thursday morning on MSNBC that he thought the “time has come” for the state to legalize same-sex marriage, and that despite the resistance along the way, he was confident that “more and more Rhode Islanders know this is the right time for this.”

Rhode Island is the only New England state that has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. If the Senate approves the bill, Gov. Lincoln Chaffee will most likely sign it, making Rhode Island the 10th state to pass a law allowing same-sex marriage.

See Handy’s interview with Roberts above.