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Rhode Island supports marriage equality by a large margin, New Mexico House panel approves equal marriage bill

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Fifty-seven percent of Rhode Islanders support marriage equality, a new Public Policy Polling survey has found, with only 36 percent saying they oppose it–a 21-point spread in favor.  “Support for marriage equality is strong and growing every day, as we tell the stories of our friends and neighbors who are unfairly unable to access the rights and benefits marriage bestows,” Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, said in a statement.

This week, the Providence Journal noted an interesting detail regarding the marriage equality bill that passed the state House last week: Rep. William San Bento, Jr., a Democrat from Pawtucket, had joined the bill as a cosponsor but ultimately voted against it when it came up for a flow.  San Bento told the ProJo that he is “a religious guy” who “just couldn’t continue and give that vote” for the marriage equality bill.

Following the defeat of pro-LGBT equality bills in Wyoming this week, there is positive news out of New Mexico today, where the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-2 to advance a constitutional amendment that would allow the state’s same-sex couples full marriage rights.  The vote was split on party lines, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it.

The marriage equality bill will need to make it past two other committees to reach a full floor vote in the 70-member House.  If approved by the full chamber and the Senate, the amendment would go on the 2014 general election ballot for voters to approve or reject.  As the Las Cruces Sun-News points out, the New Mexico legislature has rejected domestic partnership bills in the past, so the equal marriage measure likely faces an uphill climb.  Democrats hold majorities in both houses of the legislature.

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