- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
Rhode Island Senate to vote on gay marriage
Question of the Day
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — State lawmakers in Rhode Island could decide whether the nation’s smallest state becomes the 10th to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Following months of review and debate, the state Senate is set to vote on gay-marriage legislation Wednesday afternoon. The bill easily passed the House in January and has the support of independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Gay-marriage legislation has been introduced in Rhode Island's General Assembly for nearly two decades only to languish on the legislative agenda. Heavily Catholic Rhode Island is now the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex couples to marry. Gay marriage is law in nine states and the District of Columbia.
Wednesday’s vote comes after the SenateJudiciary Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to forward the legislation to the Senate floor. Dozens of supporters cheered and cried following the vote. Ken Fish, a 70-year-old gay man from Warwick, R.I., said he watched the committee vote with a mixture of disbelief and elation.
“It’s almost unreal to think we’re here, after all these years,” he said. “I wasn’t sure we’d ever get here.”
If the bill passes the Senate, it must return to the House for a largely procedural vote on small changes made to the bill on the Senate side. House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, Providence Democrat, said a final vote could come as early as next week.
Support for the bill has grown since it passed the House in January. On Tuesday, the Senate’s five Republicans announced they would all support the legislation, further improving the bill’s chances.
Opponents aren’t giving up on efforts to turn back the legislation. Sen. Harold M. Metts, Providence Democrat, said he planned to fast and pray ahead of Wednesday’s debate.
“Culture may change, but God has an immutable character,” he said. “I’ll be praying all night.”
Mr. Chafee encouraged supporters to contact their senators ahead of the vote but signaled that he thinks the bill will pass, saying in a statement, “I believe that when the roll is called, marriage equality will become law in Rhode Island.”
The Senate long has been seen as the true test for gay marriage in Rhode Island. Two years ago, gay-marriage legislation languished after it became apparent it would be defeated in the Senate. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva-Weed, Newport Democrat, opposes the bill but has vowed not to obstruct debate.
The Rhode Island legislation states that religious institutions may set their own rules for who is eligible to marry within their faith and specifies that no religious leader is obligated to officiate at any marriage ceremony. While ministers already cannot be forced to marry anyone, the exemption helped assuage concerns from some lawmakers that clergy could face lawsuits for abiding by their religious convictions.
By Matt Kibbe
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow