As expected, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted today to approve marriage equality legislation with a vote of 51–19. The bill now advances to the Senate, where the Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D) previously blocked a vote. This year, though, Paiva Weed has promised to allow a vote after approval in the House, but it’s unclear when that will occur. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) has promised to sign the bill and block any attempts to refer the question to a referendum.
An October poll showed that 56 percent of Rhode Island voters support marriage equality. Same-sex marriages from other states are already recognized by state agencies. After over a year of offering civil unions, less than 100 couples bothered to obtain one. All other states in New England — Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut — already recognize and offer same-sex marriages.