Tuesday, May 7, 2013
State Sen. James Sheehan explains why he voted in favor of the historic bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
To the editor, After long and admittedly difficult deliberation, I decided to support extending civil legal rights, benefits and privileges of marriage to same gender couples. Please allow me to explain how I arrived at this decision. I concur with the Catholic Church that our nation and state suffer from a growing "moral relativism," a social deterioration propelled by an unrestrained pursuit of selfish desires over "love for thy neighbor." I also firmly believe that holy matrimony should and ought to remain a sacred union between a man and a woman that has been blessed by God's representatives on earth. Further, while the state may recognize same gender marriages, the state is constitutionally-bound to respect the religious convictions …
Thursday, May 2, 2013
A bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed 56-15.
Sixteen years after legislation was initially introduced in Rhode Island, same-sex marriage is now legal in the Ocean State. On Thursday afternoon, the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the legislation with a vote of 56-15. "This is a great day in Rhode Island, not just for the many Rhode Island families who will now get the recognition and equality that they so richly deserve, and not only for the thousands who have been fighting for decades for the dignity and rights of all citizens," said House Speaker Gordon Fox, the first openly gay House Speaker in the nation who has cosponsored the legislation every year. "It is also a wonderful day for the generations of future Rhode Islanders who may never know a time when some …
Thursday, April 25, 2013
EGHS teacher and North Kingstown resident Karen Izzo reacts to the vote in favor of same sex marriage by the Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday.
My husband and I were too emotional right after the Senate vote to do much of anything but cry (well, that was mostly me) and hug each other. Five years ago, I wrote to a local paper asking how thinking, decent people could deny basic rights to my son who is gay. My question certainly wasn't extraordinary – for decades, civil rights advocates had been asking the same thing regarding all of Rhode Island's gay citizens. Today, the Rhode Island Senate answered: we can't deny those rights. It was both gratifying and humbling to witness, with this afternoon's Senate approval of same gender marriage, the bipartisan recognition of the principles on which our country and state were founded. The vote today revealed crisp, logical thinking and …
With the Senate's approval, the bill now goes back to the House for approval, then to Gov. Lincoln Chafee for his signature.
In a 26-12 vote, the Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in the state, the last in New England to approve such a measure. The House of Representatives voted 51-19 on Jan. 25 to approve that chamber's version of the bill. Should the House pass the Senate version, the legislation would go to Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who has pledged his support. North Kingstown senators Dawson Hodgson (R–E.G., N.K., S.K., Narragansett), an early champion of the bill, and James Sheehan (D–North Kingstown, Narragansett) both voted in favor of it. The Senate also approved the House bill, 26-12, and sent its bill to the House for approval. With Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed's announcement of the vote count at 5:45…
Friday, March 22, 2013
NK's Sen. Hodgson speaks out in favor of same-sex marriage.
By midnight Thursday, people were still testifying for and against the same-sex marriage legislation (S-38) before the state Senate Judiciary Committee. More than 600 people signed up to testify and in groups of four they were called up. North Kingstown State Senator Dawson Hodgson (R - North Kingstown, East Greenwich, South Kingstown and Narragansett) sits on the Judiciary Committee. Hodgson early on spoke out in favor of the legislation: "If Rhode Islanders truly believe in family values, we need to value all families." To the comments from some that the legislation harms marriage, Hodgson said, "No matter what this committee does, it won't touch your marriage. That's one of the nice things about the separation of church and state." …
Monday, February 4, 2013
He decries the Senate's "lack of urgency"; Rep. Giarrusso says these early days are for getting bills written and, in general, tackling smaller issues.
One month into the General Assembly's 2013 session, things haven't changed very much from this point two years ago, according to Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35). "We’re about a month in, we’ve only had one or two calendars since inauguration day," Hodgson said, referring to days in which there's formal action on a bill. "This is the time of year when we show up and there’s no bill pending, there’s no votes ... on state business." Hodgson said inaction on same-sex marriage is one reason for the Senate's seeming "lack of urgency." "Whether you support same sex marriage or oppose it … these are deeply held motiviations and they are profound on both sides. For my colleagues who are deeply engaged on this issue on both sides, they deserve to…
Friday, January 25, 2013
Rep. Craven supported the measure while Rep. Costa voted against a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.
Thursday evening, the Rhode Island House of Representatives made history by passing a bill that would make same-sex marriage legal in Rhode Island. The measure passed 51-19. North Kingstown's two state representatives voted on opposite sides of the issue, with Rep. Doreen Costa (R – North Kingstown, Exeter) against it and Rep. Robert Craven, Sr. (D – North Kingstown) supporting it. Costa said she voted against the bill because of correspondence from her constituents that heavily opposed the redefinition of marriage and the passage of a law allowing same-sex marriage. "The mass amount of phone calls in opposition from my district were more than I expected," said Costa. "It was about 3-1 against it." Despite her vote, Costa said she …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The proposal to guarantee marriage rights to all Rhode Islanders now moves onto the state Senate.
Thursday, January 24
The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted 51 to 19 today to allow same-sex couples to marry in Rhode Island, the Legislature announced in a release. Rep. Robert Craven, Sr. (D – North Kingstown) voted in favor while Rep. Doreen Costa (R – North Kingstown, Exeter) voted against it. The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Arthur Handy, who has introduced the bill for each of the last 11 years, said the measure is about justice and equity for same-sex couples, but is also emotional and personal for so many who have worked for years for marriage equality. “Obviously, this issue is about fairness and allowing all Rhode Islanders to have equal access to the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage, but marriage is about so much more …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The bill is headed to the full House of Representatives on Thursday.
Tuesday, January 22
STATE HOUSE – The House Judiciary Committee today voted unanimously to recommend passage of legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, sending the bill to the full House of Representatives. A vote is expected Thursday in the House, where 42 of the 75 members signed on as sponsors of the bill, including House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, who pledged to make its passage a priority this year. Today’s vote marks the first time the bill has been voted out of a committee in either of Rhode Island’s legislative chambers, paving the way for what will also be the first floor vote by either of the chambers. The legislation has been introduced annually in some form since 1997. Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), who has been the bill’s …
The state House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on the controversial measure for 3 pm on Jan. 22.
Tuesday, January 22
A vote by the State House Judiciary committee on a bill allowing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is scheduled for a vote this afternoon at 3 p.m., the General Assembly Press Bureau announced. The "Equal Access to Marriage" bill — submitted in the House by Cranston Rep. Arthur Handy and co-sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D - Dist. 68, Bristol and Warren) — would make Rhode Island the last state in New England to allow same-sex marriages, and would recognize any civil unions as marriages. According to a release from the General Assembly Press Bureau, "no further testimony will be taken at this hearing." The agenda for today's hearing is attached to this article. If the proposal passes the committee, it could land on the floor of …