The Rhode Island House will hold a vote
on a gay marriage bill on Thursday, marking the first time the issue
will receive a vote in either the House or Senate.
Marriage legislation has been
introduced every year in Rhode Island since 1997.
The bill with its 42 sponsors is
expected to easily clear the 75-member House.
Representative Arthur Handy, the
measure's champion in the chamber, told the AP that he has seen
increased support for the measure.
“It's a harder 'no' vote than people
may have thought,” he said.
The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of marriage equality, on
Wednesday called on members to crowd the House galleries.
“Rhode Island has bravely held out
against the tide of radical politics that has swept across its
neighboring states in New England,” NOM wrote, “where same sex
activists have succeeded in forcing their agenda through the
While passage in the House looks bright
and Governor Lincoln Chafee has endorsed the effort, doubts remain in
the Senate, where Democratic leaders remain opposed.