Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected Thursday to sign into law legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. The House Judiciary Committee quickly approved the bills Tuesday.
Any uncertainty facing the same-sex bills was eliminated when the state Senate overwhelmingly approved them last week. In a largely procedural matter, House Judiciary followed up with an unanimous 13-to-zero vote. Education activist Maryellen Butke, who can recall how fellow gays and lesbians once faced overt hostility in Rhode Island, called the vote historic.
A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island has cleared its first legislative hurdle. The House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved the legislation, paving the way for a full House vote later this week.
The crowd assembled for the same sex marriage vote erupted in applause and cheers when the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass the bill on to the full House. The panel had heard hours of testimony. By the time it came to vote, only Committee chair Edith Ajello had anything left to say.