Rhode Island Will Vote On Marriage Equality Next Year | It’s hard to argue that the civil unions bill Rhode Island passed last year has been a “complete failure.” In the first nine months, only 52 couples bothered to get one of the sub-par unions. Now, Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox (D) has promised that he will call a vote on marriage equality next year. That was the plan last year, but a vote was never taken and eventually the bill was compromised to only provide civil unions with religious exemptions so broad the unions have little value. Last month, Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) signed an executive order calling on all Rhode Island state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.