Most observers expect the same-sex marriage bill to pass the House, in the end. The state Senate, where the chamber's president M. Teresa Paiva Weed is opposed, remains the big question mark.
But observers say the fate of the bill in the Senate may depend, in part, on how it proceeds through the House. Of particular import: the size of the vote margin.
It is easy, from the outside, to underestimate the power of the personal in politics. But it matters, especially in a state as small as Rhode Island - see the debate over the state's medical marijuana bill, named after the late Representative Thomas Slater.
It will play a role - just one of many factors, to be sure - in the same-sex marriage drama unfolding at the State House in the coming weeks and months.
The National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island has launched an anti-gay marrriage TV ad campaign, focused on a call for a referendum on the matter. But don't expect an air war anytime soon.
Kathy Kushnir, executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, says her organization has no plans for a TV campaign of its own, focusing instead on grassroots organizing.
The National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island launches this anti-gay marriage ad today, with a relatively modest $100,000 ad buy on cable and broadcast television. It employs a relatively effective "let the people decide" message - angling for a popular vote on the issue. But NOM-RI seems to have a spelling problem.
And the battle is joined. The National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island, local branch of a national organization opposing same-sex marriage, will launch a television advertising campaign tomorrow.
NOM-RI is announcing the campaign with some sharp words for new Governor Lincoln Chafee, a same-sex marriage supporter whose election has significantly boosted the prospects of passage of a gay marriage bill.
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.
Dear readers, N4N will be out on a little mini-vacation for the next couple of days. But fear not. A new edition of the Phoenix drops tomorrow. My cover story looks at the winners and losers from the November elections - not the pols, but the interest groups. With a new governor set to take office and a new General Assembly in place, who will triumph? And who will not? Whither gay marriage, education reform, and the labor agenda?
This is hardly the first time the Providence Journal has written about GLBTQ issues. But there is something striking about a picture of a young man kissing another young man on the cheek on the front of today's paper.
That such an image is striking is, well, a little striking itself. A commentary on what we expect - and don't - in Rhode Island, circa 2010.
With Rhode Island still in the depths of an economic crisis, social issues got little attention during the gubernatorial contest. But the pro-life blogosphere is aflutter about governor-elect Lincoln Chafee's decision to name Dr. Pablo Rodriguez to his Transition Advisory Committee - a group, as the name suggests, that advises the transition team.
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.
As noted on RIFuture and the Huffington Post, Stephen Colbert took aim at Governor Carcieri last night for vetoing burial rights for domestic partners. It's a witty little bit and, less noticed, the host takes a swipe at Rhode Island media, too. Pretty amusing stuff. Embedded video at both sites.
Governor Carcieri's veto of a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to claim the bodies of - and make funeral arrangements for - their partners is proof positive of an old political maxim: elections matter.
In a heavily Democratic state where a majority support gay marriage, in a region that has embraced same-sex unions more than any other in the country, this sort of modest expansion of gay rights should have passed without incident.
Maine voters overturned same-sex marriage legislation yesterday in what is, undoubtedly, a blow to the national movement for gay nuptials. And the vote could have some impact in Rhode Island which, until yesterday, was the only New England state that failed to recognize same-sex marriage.
Momentum matters in politics, after all.
Among the many bills that will apparently fizzle as the General Assembly stumbles to its chaotic conclusion: a push to legalize same-sex marriage.
Legislators had predicted, for months, that the bill would sputter. House Speaker William J. Murphy and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed are opposed, as is Governor Carcieri.
A month after a Brown University poll found Rhode Islanders favoring gay marriage by a 60-31 margin, a new poll commissioned by an anti-gay marriage group has come to a far different conclusion, with 43 percent opposing and 36 percent favoring.
Hmm...As the ProJo points out in a blog item, 68 percent of respondents to the most recent poll, paid for by the National Oragnization for Marriage, were over age 50.