Apr 23 2013




What has to be a historic first every single Republican member of the Rhode Island State Senate plan to vote for marriage equality. The five members, including the Republican Minority Leader, votes make it very likely that Rhode Island will become yet one more state to join the freedom column in the struggle for full equality.

Here is an article by Ian Donnis on the Rhode Island NPR site:

All five Republicans in the 38-member Rhode Island Senate - including Minority Leader Dennis Algiere of Westerly - plan to support the same-sex marriage bill backed by supporters of the issue, RIPR has learned.

Algiere and Senator David Bates of Barrington plan to announce their support Tuesday morning for S 38, the bill introduced by Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket). The three other GOP senators - Dawson Hodgson of North Kingstown, Nicholas Kettle of Coventry, and Christopher Ottiano of Portsmouth -- have already expressed their support for the Nesselbush bill. They call their support consistent with the Republican values of freedom and small government.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is gaining momentum among Republicans.

The unanimous support among Senate Republicans reflects how GOP lawmakers are not uncommonly more socially liberal than the Democrats who control the General Assembly. It is also reportedly marks the first unanimous backing from a partisan legislative caucus in the US for same-sex marriage.

Algiere has been the subject of an active lobbying campaign by the two leading advocacy groups on each side of the issue, the National Organization for Marriage's RI chapter and Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, as David Pepin recently described in the Westerly Sun.

Calling the upcoming vote “one of the top five” he’s faced in terms of lobbying intensity over his 21 years in the Senate, [Algiere] said he has been bombarded by phone and email messages from both sides of the issue in the nearly three months since the House approved same-sex marriage, with strong backing from Speaker Gordon Fox and his leadership team, by a 51-19 vote.

“I’m getting a lot of messages, about 100-plus phone calls and 100-plus emails each day. Some days, it’s been a few hundred,” he said, adding that the totals don’t tilt strongly in favor of either side.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote on competing same-sex marriage bills, including one that would make legalizing it subject to a statewide vote, at 3 Tuesday afternoon. Hodgson is the only Republican member of the 10-member committee, although Algiere is an ex officio member.