Rhode Island House easily passes gay marriage bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013
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A handful of lawmakers rose during the debate to criticize gay marriage as a dangerous social experiment. Rep. Arthur Corvese, D-North Providence, warned lawmakers that same-sex marriage was an "irrevocable societal game-changer" that would redefine "the fundamental building block of our community" and could lead to the legalization of polygamy or plural marriages.

"Truth must not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness," he said. "Is this the vision you want for Rhode Island's future? Is this the future you want for America?"

Supporters in Rhode Island are hoping to build on national momentum after votes to approve gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have prohibited gay marriage, the first time such a ballot question has failed in the United States.

Lawmakers who argued in favor of allowing gays to marry warned their colleagues they could wind up on the wrong side of history if they cast a no vote.

"Your grandchildren someday will ask you... 'How did you vote on marriage equality?'" said Rep. John Edwards, D-Tiverton. "Hopefully you'll be able to say the right thing."

Passage in the House was expected, as 42 of the 75 House members signed on as sponsors.

Two years ago, Fox dropped gay marriage legislation after he concluded the bill would not pass the Senate. Instead, lawmakers passed civil unions for same-sex couples. But there has been little interest in the state. In the year since civil unions were first offered, only 68 couples obtained civil union licenses.

Last year, Chafee signed an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.