With openly gay Speaker of the House Gordon Fox winning his unexpectedly tight race, gay marriage supporters are breathing a sigh of relief.
Fox has pledged to bring same-sex nuptials up for a vote in late January, should he win re-election. Assuminng that happens - and assuming he gets the measure through his chamber - the spotlight will be on the state Senate.
Heading into election night, gay marriage opponents held about half the chamber, with Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed on their side. Supporters held about one-third of the Senate, with the balance in the toss-up category.
It looks like same-sex nuptials supporters have picked up a few Senate seats tonight, but are still short of a majority in the chamber. Ryan Pearson and Catherine Cool Rumsey have bolstered the ranks of supporters. But Republican Senator Nicholas Kettle has held off Scott Pollard in a tight race and Democratic Senate candidate Frank Lombardi, an opponent of gay marriage, has crushed his feisty GOP opponent Sean Gately, who had lately pledged his support to same-sex nuptials advocates.
Providence Senator Harold Metts, an opponent, easily won re-election.
In all, 16 of the Senate candidates backed by Marriage Equality Rhode Island, the pro-gay marriage group, won tonight. The candidates support gay marriage with varying degrees of intensity. The chamber has 38 members total.