A Rhode Island Senate panel will hold
hearings on a gay marriage bill starting on Thursday.
The House Judiciary Committee which is
considering the legislation held an eight-and-a-half-hour hearing on
the issue early last month. The House panel is expected to vote on
the bill as early as next week.
Over the weekend, Rhode
Island Representative Jim Langevin wrote an op-ed in which he added
his support for the measure.
“For many years, I supported civil
unions as a reasonable way to achieve consensus on a divisive issue,
providing rights and protections to same-sex couples while respecting
the deeply held beliefs of those not comfortable with the idea of
marriage rights,” Langevin
wrote Saturday in The
“I am now convinced that affording
full marriage equality rights to same-sex couples is the only fair
and responsible approach for both Rhode Island and the nation. If
our nation expects to provide equal protection for all, then our
civic institutions must reflect that noble goal.”
The proposal also has the strong
support of independent Governor Lincoln Chafee.
The nation's most vociferous opponent
of gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM),
Chafee in an ad released last month. NOM
has also pledged $1 million to oppose the campaigns of Republicans
who support a gay marriage bill in Maryland.