New England is now complete. Through court rulings, legislative action, and wins at the ballot, loving and committed couples from Bangor to Burlington, Providence to Portland, and Cambridge to Concord will soon be able to join in the freedom to marry.
Freedom to Marry is proud to be a lead partner in Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the advocacy campaign that led this year’s effort. We’d like to thank the leadership of our partners in the work, especially Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, both of which have worked for years to bring about this victory. Thank you to House Speaker Gordon Fox, House bill sponsor Art Handy, Senate bill sponsor Donna Nesselbush, and the Senate GOP Caucus, which voted unanimously in favor of the freedom to marry legislation.
Rhode Islanders United for Marriage Campaign Director Ray Sullivan rightly called the day “historic”:
This is an historic day — we are close to the end of a journey that began in 1997, and today we took a giant step toward ensuring all loving, committed couples in Rhode Island have the freedom to marry. When we began this campaign in January, many thought we’d never succeed in the Senate. But, thanks to the tireless efforts of the many volunteers who knocked thousands of doors, made thousands of calls and wrote thousands of letters — we did it.
But not everyone was happy with the bill’s passage. National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown was dejected in a statement released on the NOM website:
The Senate has abandoned society’s most important institution and put their constituents on a collision course with the law. Lawmakers have allowed themselves to be fooled into thinking they have protected people of faith when in fact they have put those who believe in true marriage in the crosshairs of the law and gay ‘marriage’ activists. It won’t be long before the repercussions begin to be felt.
The status of marriage nationwide could also be decided this June, when the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue two rulings on cases involving same-sex marriage.
Top photo: R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (via Facebook)