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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 3, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 18
Rhode Island makes 10
Section One
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Rhode Island makes 10

Gov. Chafee signs equality bill - will Delaware follow suit?

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

As SGN goes to press on May 2, Rhode Island has become the 10th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a long-time supporter of LGBT rights, signed the bill at 5:45 p.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, in Delaware, a key Senate committee passed that state's marriage bill and sent it to the full Senate for an up-or-down vote.

The Rhode Island bill won final passage in a procedural vote in the state's legislature last week. It passed the House in January, and a slightly modified bill passed the Senate on April 25 by a convincing 26-12 margin. The final vote was necessary to reconcile the two versions.

CATHOLIC RESISTANCE
All five of the other New England states already have same-sex marriage on the books, but in heavily Catholic Rhode Island the legislature stalled marriage equality legislation for 20 years. Last year a record number of Democrats - and a record number of Gay and Lesbian members - were elected to legislative seats, finally turning the tide.

The tipping point was reached when the devoutly Catholic president of the Rhode Island Senate, Democrat Teresa Paiva Weed, promised she would not block a vote on the measure even though she opposed it. All five Republican senators voted for equality.

Jenn Steinfeld, a co-founder of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, said she watched the movement grow from a few people into thousands of volunteers, many of whom are not Gay or Lesbian.

'When we started, I knew every single person in our database,' she said. 'Now I go to events and I don't know anybody. I think that's wonderful. Seeing the tide change, seeing people who aren't personally affected support us, it's just been amazing.'

DELAWARE ON THE BUBBLE
In Delaware, marriage equality cleared the Senate Executive Committee after a 90-minute hearing. The bill passed the state House by a narrow margin on April 23. Supporters expect another close vote in the Senate.

The Delaware Senate is expected to take up the measure on May 7, but the vote may not come on that date. Democratic Gov. Jack Markell supports marriage equality and is expected to sign the bill if it passes both houses of the legislature.

Lawmakers in Illinois, Minnesota, and Nevada have joined Rhode Island and Delaware in taking up same-sex marriage legislation this year. New Jersey Democrats have until next January to attempt to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a same-sex marriage bill in that state. LGBT rights advocates in Oregon have begun a campaign to put a marriage equality initiative on the ballot in 2014.

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'All our concerns are one' - On May Day, activists press for LGBT immigrant rights
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Rhode Island makes 10
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'Equality: Passed, Present, and Future' - 2013 Pride theme highlights positive changes in the LGBT community
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Bad theology no excuse for discrimination
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Magical thinking with Diverse Harmony
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Mark Hewitt - 1955 - 2013
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Michelle shocks - again
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All apologies - Sen. Joe Manchin is sorry he tried to block DADT repeal
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Federal judge criticizes Oregon's anti-equality law
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A pioneer in LGBT health - Dr. Caitlin Ryan to be honored by American Psychiatric Association
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Equality champ - Jason Collins breaks the NBA no-Gay barrier
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Iceland's Lesbian prime minister retires
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Northern Irish lawmakers reject marriage equality
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On the brink of a cure? - Report of Danish HIV 'breakthrough' sparks controversy
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Body diversity and the 'magic letter' - The importance of being true to yourself
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Feds say 'Get tested!' - Task force recommends universal HIV testing ?for ages 15 to 65
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