Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed's office
has suggested he will co-sponsor a bill that would repeal the Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that forbids federal recognition
of the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
Gay marriage advocates on Tuesday began
courting Reed with a petition campaign.
“You have a consistent record of
supporting LGBT Rhode Islanders and we know that you are committed to
doing what's right for all families,” the
petition reads. “Thousands of loving same-sex couples in Rhode
Island have legally wed or plan to, and are committed to sharing
their lives and building a family together. They need access to the
same safety net and security that other families are afforded by the
federal government. On behalf of the majority of Rhode Islanders who
support the freedom to marry, we respectfully ask that you join your
colleague, Senator Whitehouse, in co-sponsoring the Respect for
Reed spokesman Chip Unruh said in an
email Wednesday that the senator's “strong record of supporting
equal protections” includes opposition to constitutional amendments
that define marriage as a heterosexual union, the Providence
On Thursday, Reed said he was looking
into the issue.
“Well I'm looking very carefully at
it,” he told WRNI
radio. “It's a critical issue of public policy. I think it
merits a careful study and that's what I'm doing and I'm going to do
it quickly so that I can come to a conclusion.”
The bill has
attracted 30 co-sponsors in the Senate and 125 in the House,
including Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Republican to
support the proposed legislation. Gay
marriage foes have condemned Ros-Lehtinen's decision.
reiterates support for repeal of DOMA.)