Ray Sullivan, campaign manager for
Marriage Equality Rhode Island, says he's “guardedly optimistic”
Rhode Island will legalize gay marriage.
Despite large Democratic majorities in
the General Assembly, Rhode Island remains the only New England state
without marriage equality. (However, under an executive order signed
by Governor Lincoln Chafee, the state recognizes the marriages of gay
and lesbian couples performed elsewhere.)
Lawmakers adjourned this year without
taking action on several bills related to the issue.
House Speaker Gordon Fox, a Providence
Democrat who is openly gay, has called for an early vote on gay
nuptials in the House.
Fox came under
heavy criticism from gay marriage advocates for abandoning efforts
last year to approve a marriage equality bill in favor of civil
unions. Fox explained at the time that the marriage bill was doomed
in the Senate because Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and other
top Democrats in the chamber remained opposed.
Weed, an opponent
of marriage equality, has said she anticipates the Senate Judiciary
Committee will take up the issue in the upcoming legislative session
which begins Tuesday.
“I'm guardedly optimistic,” Ray
Sullivan told the AP. “Based on the momentum both locally and
nationally, we are strategically well-placed to move forward.”