Rhode Islander United for Marriage – PROVIDENCE January 24, 2013 ? For the first time in history, a chamber of the General Assembly took action on marriage equality legislation and voted overwhelmingly in support of HB5015, which would allow all loving, committed couples in Rhode Island to obtain a civil marriage license from the state.
?Today is a proud and historic day. For the first time, the Rhode Island House of Representatives has affirmed that all families in our state should have access to the unique protection and recognition that only civil marriage provides,? said Ray Sullivan, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage campaign director. ?There is incredible momentum behind this movement ? first a unanimous Judiciary Committee vote, and now (two-thirds/60 percent/etc) of members, Republicans and Democrats, stood in support of marriage equality.
The broad and growing coalition of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage will build on this important victory and continue to tell the stories of real people and their families who are profoundly impacted by their inability to access the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.
?Sylvia and I are so happy Rhode Island has taken this tremendously important step forward in recognizing all loving, committed relationships in the Ocean State,? said Tony De Luca, a former public school teacher and former member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from North Kingstown, whose daughter, Luisa, married her wife, Brenda, in Massachusetts two years ago. ?We are now closer than ever before to our home state recognizing, protecting and fully respecting Luisa and Brenda?s relationship and the relationships of countless other Rhode Island families.”
The marriage equality bill, HB5015, is sponsored by Representative Art Handy (D-Cranston) and has 41 House co-sponsors. Representative Handy has sponsored this legislation for 11 years, and the bill has been introduced every session since 1997. It will now move to the Senate, where the bill is sponsored by Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket) with 10 Senate co-sponsors.
Rhode Islanders United for Marriage is a broad and growing coalition of local and national organizations and individuals working together to win civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in Rhode Island.