The Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus on Tuesday announced their support for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the first unanimous legislative caucus in the nation — of either party — to support marriage equality.
“Our Senate Republican Caucus is deeply committed to the values of freedom, liberty and limited government. In accordance with those values, we believe that freedom means freedom for everyone, and that every citizen of Rhode Island deserves the freedom to marry the person they love,” the Senators said, in a statement:
We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon. Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit. This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.
We recognize that there is a national consensus building on this generational issue, and we are glad that support for the freedom to marry is growing within the Republican Party. Today we join the 209 other Republican state legislators across America who have stood up for the freedom to marry. As a united Senate Republican Caucus, we are proud to add our voices to reaffirm the principles of freedom and equality under the law.
The statement is signed by all five members of the GOP caucus: Sens. Dennis Algiere (R-Westerly), David Bates (R-Barrington), Dawson Hodgson (R-North Kingstown), Nicholas Kettle (R-Coventry), and Chris Ottiano (R-Portsmouth).
The State Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve the legislation today, and if so, a final vote on same-sex marriage in Rhode Island could come before week’s end.
Debate and vote in the Judiciary committee is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT.
Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted 7-4 to advance the bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Story here →