CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The independent governor of Rhode Island said Tuesday that an upcoming Democratic primary could be key in determining whether the state will pass same-sex marriage legislation next year.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a supporter of marriage equality, told the Washington Blade that a victory on Sept. 11 for Laura Pisaturo, a lesbian attorney running for state Senate, would be “pivotal” when asked about his expectations for advancing marriage equality.
“There’s a key Senate race in Rhode Island, which is really revolving around this issue, and the head of the committee who overseas marriage equality is having a tough primary race,” Chafee said. “So a week from tonight, we’ll kind of have an indication. A big pro-marriage equality candidate against this committee chair. That’s a pivotal race in Rhode Island that will be an indication.”
Pisaturo is running against State Sen. Michael McCaffrey, another attorney and chair of Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Pending same-sex marriage legislation has never advanced in his committee, even though he’s a Democrat. Last month, McCaffrey said during a TV debate that the committee may not have the votes to move the bill, adding his position is he “believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Chafee added that the election of Pisaturo, who’s been endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, would not only remove someone who doesn’t support marriage equality, but be a broader symbolic victory for same-sex marriage.
“It’s a blue collar district,” Chaffee said. “It’s representative of Rhode Island. If in that district they elect a pro-marriage equality candidate, it’s going to send a broad, broad message across the state.”