Marriage bills introduced in Rhode Island House and Senate

Yesterday evening, just three days into the 2013 legislative session, legislators in Rhode Island introduced bills that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in both the House and the Senate.

The bills are identical, in each allowing same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry. They are sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy, a House Democrat, and Sen. Donna Nesselbush, a Senate Democrat (both pictured, right). Rep. Handy reflected on the introduction with The Washington Blade. He said:

We are long overdue. Rhode Island, the colony founded on the principle of personal liberty, is now the only New England state that doesn't allow same-gender couples equal marriage. Rhode Islanders recognize that same-gender couples deserve the rights and responsibilities that other couples already enjoy, and support has been getting wider every year.

Marriage Equality Rhode Island's campaign manager, Ray Sullivan, celebrated the news yesterday in The Washington Blade. He said:

We've been working and building towards this moment for a very long time. The momentum is palpable and it's great to see so many pro-equality legislators standing up for equal rights for all loving committed couples.

Same-sex couples in Rhode Island can currently join together in civil union, which provides some, but not all, of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. Rhode Island also respects out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples.  

If the Rhode Island legislature approves the freedom to marry, Rhode Island will join nine other states and the District of Columbia in fully respecting the love and commitment of same-sex couples. 

Learn more about the freedom to marry in Rhode Island.