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.”