April 24, 2013
By Jacob Combs
Just now, the Rhode Island Senate voted 26-12 to approve SB38, a marriage equality bill that would provide full rights to same-sex couples in the state. All five of the chamber’s Republican members voted yes on the bill, joined by 21 of their Democratic colleagues. An amendment by Sen. Ciccone to put marriage equality on the ballot which was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee also failed today on the Senate floor by a vote of 28-10.
SB38 will now return to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, which passed a similar marriage equality bill 51-19 in January but must vote again on SB38, which contains small changes to the provision’s religious exemptions. House Speaker Gordon Fox believes a final vote could put the bill on Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s desk “as early as next week.”
Gov. Chafee has said he will sign the bill into law. Rhode Island would be the 10th state to allow the full rights of marriage to same-sex couples, who could apply for marriage licenses beginning August 1.
UPDATE (10:15 p.m. Eastern): Gordon Fox sent out a tweet this evening anticipating final approval in the House by the end of next week:
— Gordon Fox (@repgordonfox) April 24, 2013