With openly gay Speaker of the House Gordon Fox expected to push a same-sex marriage bill through his chamber this month, all eyes have been on the Senate - and, specifically, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed's appointments to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will have jurisdiction over the matter.
Well today, Paiva Weed - an opponent of gay nuptials - finally named 10 members to the panel
Last month, I wrote a cover story for the Phoenix suggesting it might be time for Rhode Island's gay marriage advocates to consider putting the question on the ballot.
Supporters had long resisted the idea - and for understandable reasons. Prior to the November election, same-sex nuptials advocates around the country were 0 for 32 at the ballot box.
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.
I've got a cover story in this week's Phoenix asking whether Rhode Island's gay marriage advocates should consider putting the question on the ballot.
Advocates have resisted the idea to date, and for good reason. In 32 states, voters have rejected same-sex nuptials at the polls. And the campaigns can get nasty, taking a personal toll on gay and lesbian families.
After I put this blog post up - declaring Republican state senate candidate Sean Gately a "no" vote on same-sex marriage, Ray Sullivan of Marriage Equality Rhode Island called the candidate. After their conversation, Sullivan tweeted that I may have jumped the gun in declaring Gately a "no."
I was surprised. Gately's position seemed pretty clear to me when we spoke yesterday.
Last night's Democratic primaries did not treat gay marriage advocates well.
The state senate is ground zero for the same-sex nuptials debate. And supporters need to pick-up about a half-dozen seats in the 38-member chamber to have a good shot at passing a bill next year. Last night, just one same-sex marriage supporter - Adam Satchell - claimed victory in the six most watched races.
Tonight's Democratic primaries were not kind to gay marriage supporters, who claimed just one of six key state senate races. Pro-same sex nuptials candidate Adam Satchell scored a decisive victory over Senator Michael Pinga. But five other gay marriage backers - David Gorman, Gene Dyszlewski, Laura Pisaturo, Lewis Pryeor, and Robert DaSilva - lost.
This morning: confirmation that the Tim Gill who plunked down $20,000 for gay marriage advocacy group People for Rhode Island's Future is the same Tim Gill who poured $15,000 into Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island's efforts. Gill has filed a document with the state's Board of Elections saying so.
As I reported in a Phoenix cover story a few weeks ago, the fate of Rhode Island's gay marriage bill could very well be determined by this fall's state senate elections. Advocates will need to pick up about a half-dozen seats in the 38-member chamber - no small task - if they're to have a real shot in the next legislative session.
Ray Sullivan, executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island - the leading advocate for gay marriage in the state - says he knows nothing about a new group, People for Rhode Island's Future, wading into state legislative races this week.
The group - its existence was first reported by WPRI's Ted Nesi - is mostly funded by Colorado technology magnate Tim Gill and Boston literary agent Esmond Harmsworth.
Democrat Frank Lombardi, the amiable Cranston School Committee member running to replace retiring State Senator Bea Lanzi, says he is opposed to same-sex marriage.
Lombardi says he supports full civil rights for gays and lesbians, but that his faith prevents him from embracing gay marriage.
Lombardi, who fought efforts to take down the controversial prayer banner at Cranston High School West, is locked in a Democratic primary with Rev.
Speaker of the House Gordon Fox announced in an interview on WPRI-TV's Newsmakers last week that he would call a vote next year on same-sex marriage.
Last year, of course, Fox declined to bring the measure to the floor - loathe to force House members into a vote on a controversial bill, only to have it die in the state Senate, where Senate President M.
Gordon Fox said, today, in a taping of WPRI-TV's Newsmakers that he will bring gay marriage up for a vote early in the 2013 legislative session.
Advocates always thought they could win in the House. And while victory was far from assured in the Senate, where Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has been opposed, partisans argued that House passage was a necessary pre-condition to building the case in the Senate - to forcing that chamber to engage the issue in a real way.
For years, there has been a stand-off on social issues on Smith Hill. The General Assembly's leadership has, for the most part, blocked votes on controversial issues like abortion and gay marriage in an attempt to keep the peace between liberals and conservatives.
The stalemate has frustrated partisans on both sides. But they know there is a danger in attempting a breakthrough - push hard for a vote on your bill, advocates fear, and leadership is sure to allow a vote on a bill from the other side.