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Rhode Island’s House Speaker will call for marriage equality vote next year

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

Gordon Fox, the Speaker of the House in Rhode Island, says that the state will take up marriage equality in its next legislative session:

“I’m calling the vote,” Fox, D-Providence, said Friday morning during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. He added: “It’s one of those issues that I need to come back, we need to address, and I intend if I’m elected speaker to address it early.”
“It’s one of the main reasons I’m coming back,” Fox, who is openly gay, said on the program. “There’s unfinished business.” Fox was first elected to the House in 1992 and succeeded William Murphy as speaker in February 2010.

Earlier this year, Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee signed an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state. The Senate may or may not move on marriage equality legislation after the House votes, but there are ongoing talks. Marriage Equality Rhode Island issued a statement:

“We appreciate Speaker Fox’s commitment to finally calling a vote on marriage equality and look forward to working with him to pass this important civil rights legislation early in the next session. Under Speaker Fox and Gov. Chafee’s leadership, all eyes will turn to the Senate, where there is a wide coalition working to ensure that a pro-equality majority is elected.

“Every day, we strive to make 2013 the year in which all loving, committed couples are finally recognized, respected and treated equally under the law.“

The Speaker says his intention is to call the vote early in the session.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm


  • 2. Bill S.  |  June 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Sorry, I'm a Rhode Islander and this will not pass. Our legislature is so incredibly incompetent you have no idea. The state government is pretty much the wholly owned subsidiary of the Catholic Church. I've heard reports from friends who've contacted their representatives and senators in the General Assembly and many of them have responded saying they are pro-equality but can't vote for it because they're Catholic, but they won't vote against it either.

    It might pass the House but it'll be killed in the Senate. The courts are the only way to go.

  • 3. Glen  |  June 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Religion… continuing to be the scourge of humanity.

  • 4. Scott Wooledge  |  June 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    "can't vote for it because they're Catholic"

    Think we dont' have Catholic legislators in New York State?!?!?!

    Our super-advocate in 2009, Senator Diane Savino, who went viral nationally? Catholic.

    We had a Catholic governor banging down the doors of the State House to make it heppen.

    Tell 'em to suck it up and do their SECULAR job. Then go pray for forgiveness on Sunday.

    [youtube dCFFxidhcy0 youtube]

  • 5. truthspew  |  June 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Agree completely with Bill S. I'm also a RI'er that was HEAVILY involved in MERI before the takeover by Sullivan and his clan.

    That said – M. Theresa Paiva-Weed is the Senate President and she is obstinately blocking it from EVER going through the Senate. We need to boot that blue dog out of office.

  • 6. jpmassar  |  June 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Once Maine wins marriage equality this fall, Rhode Island will be the only state in (NE+NY) not to have it. The Catholic Church will, of course, oppose it with all its might, but people are going to look around and see how isolated they are and how stupid and petty the Catholic Church is being. I'm not predicting anything, but it's going to be harder and harder for the Church and Ms. Weed to keep things under control.

    OTOH, I believe Fox said just about the same things he's saying now when he took his office, so I'm only going to believe the vote when I see it.

  • 7. Stefan  |  June 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Weed said that she'd bring the bill to a vote if it passed the House and the votes were there in the Senate ( I called her office and they confirmed this). I have no doubt at all that our side will win more pro-equality seats in both chambers after the elections this fall. Also, Chaffee will likely follow Cuomo's method for getting the bill put to a vote if Weed is reluctant.

  • 8. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    As a resident of Maryland, I applaud the efforts of the Rhode Island Speaker. However, if the experience of Maryland transfers to Rhode Island, it will take several years, with lots of fitful false starts over several years, before any bill gets passed.

    In any event, good luck and smooth sailing, Rhode Island.

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