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Will same-sex marriage get a vote in the Senate?

January 6, 2011

Whether Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed will allow a floor vote on same-sex marriage remains the big question mark as Rhode Island is poised this afternoon to begin its latest debate on the hot-button subject.

I put the question this morning to Kathy Kushnir, executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI). Kushnir says it remains unclear if Paiva Weed will sign off on such a vote.

We are looking to see if the Senate president, who has been a LGBT supporter in the past, will allow the Senate to take a vote of their conscience. And then [if that happens] we feel very confident that will result in equal rights for all Rhode Islanders.

Kushnir says supporters of same-sex marriage are trying to build backing by talking with their own lawmakers.

Senate spokesman Greg Pare deferred comment this morning when asked whether Paiva Weed will permit a vote on same-sex marriage.

Opponents on the issue, including social conservatives like Representative Jon Brien of Woonsocket, and Christopher Plante, of the National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island, have signaled they plan to sharply oppose legislative efforts to approve same-sex marriage.

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