Rhode Island gay marriage legislation moves to senate

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed legislation allowing same sex marriage by an overwhelming 51 votes to 19.

Rhode Island is currently the only one of the six New England states which does not  recognise gay marriage.

The debate was described as “often emotional” by USA Today.

Chris Plante of the National Institute for Marriage, said he thought public sentiment in the state was not in favour. “Rhode Islanders care about marriage, and they don’t want to see it redefined.”

Gordon Fox , Speaker of the House of Representatives, is one of four openly gay members of the Rhode Island General Assembly, and has supported gay marriage legislation since the 1990s. He said:

“This has been a long journey. Today is a great day. Today … we stand for equality, we stand for justice.”

The legislation now moves to upper house the Rhode Island Senate, but commentators say they cannot predict whether senators will approve the bill.

A total of nine US states, as well as the District of Columbia, now recognise same sex marriage.

Photo of Rhode Island state capital Providence by Will Hart  via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence 

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