Rhode Island is often labeled a socially conservative state. But it's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the claim. The state is solidly pro-choice and a new poll on same-sex marriage suggests ever-growing support for the idea. Commissioned by GLAD, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the poll found 59 percent of voters in favor and 31 percent opposed. And yet, Rhode Island remains one of two New England states that has failed to legalize same-sex marriage.
That is, in no small part, a function of Governor Carcieri's opposition to gay marriage. The next governor will, undoubtedly, be more friendly to the cause. But the legislature, it is clear, is simply more conservative than the electorate.
The challenge for the Rhode Island left will be filling the Assembly with more pols to their liking. But that's no small challenge: several key progressive legislators are leaving office this year and all the talk of a restive electorate itching to throw out the incumbents seems a little overblown at the moment.