Rhode Island’s House of Representatives voted in favor of joining the five other New England states in enabling same-sex couples to legally marry.  The vote was 51 – 19, and now moves on to the state Senate.

“Loving, committed same-sex couples marry for the same reasons as everyone else,” said Janson Wu, staff attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.  “More and more Americans understand that, as the representatives did today.  They did right by the citizens of Rhode Island, and we now hope the Senate will do the same.”

The bill was approved unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week in a bi-partisan vote. A marriage equality bill has been introduced in the House every session since 1997.  This year marks the first time that it has been passed, with a real possibility of it passing in the Senate and being signed into law by marriage equality supporter Governor Lincoln Chafee.

GLAD, a member organization of the coalition Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, brought the lawsuit Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could marry, in 2004.  GLAD also brought the lawsuit Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health that made marriage equality a reality in Connecticut in 2009.  GLAD also played key roles in the legislative and ballot efforts that brought marriage equality to New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

For questions about marriage or any other LGBT issue, call GLAD’s free and confidential Legal InfoLine at 1-800-455-GLAD(4523) or email gladlaw@glad.org.