Rhode Island Senate President Will Allow Marriage Equality Vote | Rhode Island Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D) has announced that she will allow the Senate to vote on a marriage equality bill, but only after it passes in the House. Speaker Gordon Fox (D), who is openly gay, has promised to bring forth the legislation as one of his top priorities in 2011. Rhode Island was expected to pass marriage equality in 2013, but ended up only managing to advance a weak civil unions bill because of Paiva Weed’s opposition. Because Rhode Island recognizes same-sex marriages from other states and all its neighbors offer them, civil unions have been so unpopular, only 68 couples got one over the first year they were offered. An October poll showed that 56 percent of Rhode Island voters support the freedom to marry.