A new poll finds a large majority (59%)
of Rhode Islanders support gay marriage.
The poll of 500 registered voters was
commissioned by the Boston-based group Gay & Lesbian Advocates &
When asked, “Do you favor or oppose
allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally?” fifty-nine
percent of respondents were in favor and thirty-one percent were
The same poll conducted in 2008 found
49 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed.
“Rhode Islanders are ready to allow
loving, committed same-sex couples to gain the dignity and respect
that marriage brings, along with all of the legal rights and
obligations that marriage brings,” Kathy Kushnir, executive
director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), said.
Rhode Island and Maine are the only New
England states that have yet to legalize gay marriage. Maine
lawmakers approved a gay marriage law last year, but opponents
successfully repealed the law after a difficult fight that drew
national attention to the tiny state.
Lawmakers in Rhode Island have
considered a gay marriage bill every year since since 1977.
Leading candidates to replace
Republican Governor Don Carcieri, who opposes giving gay and lesbian
couples the right to marry, have pledged their support for a gay
marriage bill. Rhode Island General Treasurer Frank Caprio, the
likely Democratic nominee, and former senator Lincoln Chafee, who is
running as an independent, are both leading Republican candidates
John Robitaille and Victor Moffitt, neither of whom supports gay
marriage, according to the latest Rasmussen poll.
Supporters are banking on a pro-gay
marriage administration to help rebuild momentum on the issue.