Rhode Island State House Has Overwhelmingly Passed Gay Marriage Legalization

rhode island house gay marriageRhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox (R)

Photo: AP

The Rhode Island House of Representatives easily passed a bill to legalise same sex marriage in the state, but the future of the bill rests on an untested State Senate that has never before considered a legalization measure, the New York Times reports. Rhode Island remains the last New England state without legal same-sex marriage, which confers upon same-sex couples the same legal rights and privileges that heterosexual couples enjoy in the state. 

The measure allowed anyone to marry any eligible person regardless of gender. The bill resoundingly passed 59 to 19, an expected outcome when the 42 members of the 75 member house had already been signed on as sponsors.  

The Senate president, Democrat Teresa Paiva-Weed, is opposed to same-sex marriage. Still, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the bill in spring. 

The successful passage through the house is the latest in a resounding string of victories for advocates, following voter referendums approving same-sex marriage passing in Maine, Maryland and Washington in November. 

Last year, Democratic Governor Lincoln Chafee signed an executive order recognising same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The upper chamber is comprised of 38 senators. At the moment, 32 are Democrats, 5 are Republicans and one is an independent. 

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