Rhode Island tip sheet: marriage equality smackdown

Posted by Ian Donnis and Scott MacKay on wrnipoliticsblog.wordpress.com:

"STATE OF THE STATE: Is 2011 the year when Rhode Island legalizes marriage equality? The battle kicked off yesterday when state Representative Art Handy introduced his bill . . . .  Key changes from the past : 1) Lincoln Chafee is governor; and 2) Speaker Gordon Fox is ready to permit a floor vote in the House . . . . Key question:  How does Senate president Teresa Paiva Weed negotiate the issue? . . . . National groups: the National Organization for Marriage RI has been active on the issue. Newer to RI is New York-based Freedom to Marry, which announced last November that it was working with local groups. Executive director Evan Wolfson says the group’s point person in RI is Marc Solomon, the former director of MassEquality. Asked whether same-sex marriage will become legal this year in RI, Wolfson says, “We are certainly very hopeful.”

"WILL MARRIAGE FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES PASS IN THE HOUSE? The view from state Representative Jon Brien, an opponent, who plans to introduce legislation calling for a statewide vote on the issue: 'If it passes or it fails, it will be by a razor-thin margin. I really believe that, because I believe this is one of those votes in the chamber where the leadership and the whips will not be asking anyone to vote a certain way. This is a highly personal vote, and if in fact it comes out, it will be put out there for the reps to decide for themselves how they want it.'

"GAY IN CONGRESS: David Cicilline is said to be the fourth openly gay member in the House.

"GAY IN THE MEDIA: Dan Kennedy notes that it still makes news when a sportswriter, like the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley, comes out.

"RI IN DC: Bill Daley, President Obama’s new chief of staff, attended Providence College."

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