Ray Sullivan, the head of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, joins the Roundtable this week to discuss the state Senate vote in favor of same-sex marriage; concerns about the impact on religious institutions; how the battle was won, and other issues.
The Rhode Island Senate approved two virtually identical same-sex marriage bills by a 26-12 margin Wednesday afternoon. The bills still face certain House approval and a signature from Governor Lincoln Chafee, meaning Rhode Island is poised to become the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage, perhaps as soon as next week.
The votes happened with surprising speed after a 17-year effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, filling the Senate chamber and its exterior with scores of joyous supporters.
Tuesday was a remarkable day in Rhode Island politics. First, the five-member GOP contingent in the 38-member state Senate -- including the chamber's low-key minority leader, Dennis Algiere -- offered its unified support for same-sex marriage. Then, and much more significantly, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio found himself on the wrong side of a key vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rhode Island is now on the cusp of legalizing same-sex marriage.