Rhode Island Senate President commits to vote on marriage legislation

On Monday, Rhode Island's state Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed said that legislation extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples would "certainly" be brough to a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013. If the committee votes in favor of the bill, the freedom to marry would go before the full legislature in Rhode Island.

If the Rhode Island legislature ends the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, same-sex couples in all of the New England states - thanks to Maine's big marriage win on Election Day - will be able to marry. 

Earlier this year, the Speaker of the House in the state, Gordon Fox, said he was committed to bringing similar marriage legislation to a vote next year.

The state-wide marriage organization in Rhode Island, Marriage Equality Rhode Island, reflected on Paiva Weed's announcement earlier this week. The organization's campaign director, Ray Sullivan, said in a statement:

We are both excited and grateful that the Senate President has decided to schedule a Judiciary Committee vote on marriage equality in 2013, following the House's expected passage of this historic civil rights legislation. We will continue to actively reach out to legislators on both sides of the aisle and grow our broad coalition of supporters in the House and Senate. Today's news is another positive step in the right direction, but we won't stop until the work of winning equal rights and recognition under the law for all loving, committed couples is complete, with legislation signed into law by Governor Chafee. 

Same-sex couples in Rhode Island can currently join together in civil union, which provides some, but not all, of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. Rhode Island also respects out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples.