The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Angela Dallara
Communications Associate, Freedom to Marry

RI Senate Passes Marriage Bill, Assuring Freedom to Marry for Rhode Island

Passage Means Freedom to Marry in All Six New England States


Today the Rhode Island Senate approved legislation that would end the denial of marriage to same-sex couples in Rhode Island. The House of Representatives approved similar legislation in January by a vote of 51 to 19. The bill will return to the House for minor changes before it is sent to Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has promised to sign it.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

"New England is now complete. Through court rulings, legislative action, and wins at the ballot, loving and committed couples from Bangor to Burlington, Providence to Portland, and Cambridge to Concord will soon be able to join in the freedom to marry.

"Freedom to Marry is proud to be a lead partner in Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the advocacy campaign that led this year's effort. We'd like to thank the leadership of our partners in the work, especially Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, both of which have worked for years to bring about this victory. Thank you to House Speaker Gordon Fox, House bill sponsor Art Handy, Senate bill sponsor Donna Nesselbush, and the Senate GOP Caucus, which voted unanimously in favor of the freedom to marry legislation."

In addition to its leadership with Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, Freedom to Marry has been the lead funder of the campaign, providing more than $250,000 to the effort in 2013.

When Governor Chafee signs the bill into law, same-sex couples will be able to marry in ten states and the District of Columbia--unless another state completes action prior to then. In the coming weeks, action is expected on freedom to marry legislation in Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota and Nevada.

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.