Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus unanimously supports marriage bill

Today, on the day that the Senate Judiciary Committee in Rhode Island will vote on legislation that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, all of the members of the Senate Republican Caucus in Rhode Island announced their support for the marriage bill. The caucus is now the first legislative caucus of any political party in any state to unanimously support the freedom to marry. 

Our Senate Republican Caucus is deeply committed to the values of freedom, liberty and limited government. In accordance with those values, we believe that freedom means freedom for everyone, and that every citizen of Rhode Island deserves the freedom to marry the person they love.

We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon. Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit. This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.

We recognize that there is a national consensus building on this generational issue, and we are glad that support for the freedom to marry is growing within the Republican Party. Today we join the 209 other Republican state legislators across America who have stood up for the freedom to marry. As a united Senate Republican Caucus, we are proud to add our voices to reaffirm the principles of freedom and equality under the law.

All five members of the caucus signed onto the statement. 

Tyler Deaton, campaign manager for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a group that amplifies the voices of young conservatives who support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, applauded the move in a statement today. He said:

Today's showing of support illustrates the irreversible shift in Republicans' understanding of why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families. Same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons as anyone else - to take vows in front of their loved ones, to protect their families, and to share in the responsibilities that marriage brings. As the Republican Party continues to evolve, these elected officials' united stance sends a clear message to the rest of the GOP: stand on the side of marriage and the right side of history. 

Ed J. Lopez, who serves as National Vice Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, also celebrated the historic statement. He said:

Rhode Island Republicans are leading the way to a more inclusive GOP - one that can continue to grow and stay relevant as America changes. Their actions today show that not only do they know the freedom to marry is completely in line with conservative values like personal liberty and the importance of family, they are working to make it a reality.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the marriage bill today. Earlier this year, the Rhode Island House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the marriage bill.