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Start Of New Legislative Session Brings Marriage-Equality Debate To Rhode Island

MERI-logo3As the Rhode Island General Assembly kicks off its 2013 session today, state lawmakers are gearing up for a  debate on same-sex marriage. Openly gay House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence) has called for an early vote on the issue, and  a bill is expected to be introduced by state Rep. Arthur Handy on Thursday.

Fox abandoned marriage-equality legislation in 2011 when it became clear there weren’t enough votes in the Senate. (The state passed a comprehensive civil-unions measure instead.)

A bill could have a better shot this term, though, as the November elections changed the makeup of the Assembly, reducing the number of Republicans to just 11 out of 113. In addition to Fox, there are three other openly gay members of the Rhode Island General Assembly: Sen. Donna Nesselbush (D–Pawtucket) and Reps. Frank Ferri (D–Warwick) and Deb Ruggiero (D–Jamestown).

If gay marriage does come to the Ocean State, it will be in line with all the other states in New England. Maybe they could, like, secede or something.