President Barack Obama on Thursday
endorsed an effort to make Rhode Island the tenth state to legalize
“While the President does not weigh
in on every measure being considered by the states, he believes all
couples should be treated fairly and equally, with dignity and
respect,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said in a statement
given to gay weekly the Washington
Blade. “As he has said, his personal view is that it’s
wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships,
and want to marry, from doing so.
Obama last month offered similar
support for legislation pending in Illinois.
Bills seeking to legalize marriage
equality in Rhode Island were introduced in both houses last week.
While Democrats control both chambers
of the General Assembly, passage in the Senate, where Democratic
leaders oppose marriage equality, remains in doubt. Currently, the
proposal has only 11 co-sponsors in the 38-member Senate.
Rhode Island became the only New
England state without marriage equality after Maine voters in
November approved a referendum on the issue. The state currently
recognizes gay couples with civil unions.