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Chafee Singles Out Gay Marriage

The headline from Governor Lincoln Chafee's inaugural address: a forceful call for the legalization of gay marriage. The issue was one of the only specific policy points he mentioned in the speech.

As I wrote in last week's issue of the Phoenix, the gay marriage question will ultimately be settled in the state Senate. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed is personally opposed to same-sex marriage and advocates fear the bill could remain bottled up in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The key will be keeping the issue in the public sphere and pressuring the Senate leadership to allow a vote on the floor.

Hanging over the proceedings: efforts by gay rights advocates in New York who waged sophisticated campaigns to topple a couple of state senators who opposed same-sex marriage. Can Rhode Island's gay rights' lobby project a similar power while gently cajoling the leadership into a vote?

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