Rhode Island marriage vote Wednesday

The Rhode Island Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday (April 24) on a marriage equality bill that, if passed, will position the state just days away from becoming the tenth state to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

The full Senate debate was scheduled Tuesday after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7 to 4 to advance a marriage equality bill. Because the bill that passed in the Senate committee is not the same as the bill that passed the Rhode Island House in January on a strong 51 to 19 vote, the measure must go to the House for final approval.

Openly gay House Speaker Gordon Fox told the Providence Journal he believes the Senate version of the bill would pass the House and be on the governor’s desk next week.

In Tuesday’s committee action, the committee also voted 6 to 5 against a bill that would have allowed voters to decide whether to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

Ray Sullivan, a former state representative who now heads up the pro-LGBT Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, called the committee passage of the marriage equality bill “an incredible and historic step forward.”

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