Supporters of gay marriage in Rhode
Island are out to transform the composition of the state Senate
before next year's planned vote on legislation legalizing such
The group Fight Back RI is targeting a
“small cadre of legislators” it believes are holding back passage
of a gay marriage bill.
“I think pro-equality candidates are
going to have a significant impact on the 2012 elections and
fundamentally change the composition of the state Senate come 2013,”
Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Fight
Back RI, told GoLocalProv.com.
The Rhode Island General Assembly in
2011 approved and Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a civil unions law.
House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly gay, came under heavy
criticism from advocates for abandoning a marriage equality bill in
favor of civil unions. Fox explained that the marriage bill was
doomed in the Senate because President Teresa Paiva-Weed and other
top Democrats remained opposed. Lawmakers ended this year's session
without debating marriage equality.
Fox recently announced he would call a
vote next year on a
gay marriage bill.
Fight Back RI's short list includes
Senate Judiciary Chair Michael McCaffrey, who has publicly opposed
The group is supporting McCaffrey's
Democratic primary rival Laura Pisaturo. Pisaturo has yet to
publicly announce she is a marriage equality supporter but as a trial
attorney she has worked on legal issues affecting LGBT people.
Democrat Paiva-Weed, who ultimately
will decide whether the legislation moves forward in the Senate, is
expected to win re-election in the fall, but backers are hoping to
influence her decision with the ouster of a few anti-gay marriage