PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island state Senator wants to let voters decide whether to allow same-sex marriage in the state — and he wants to let religious organizations and businesses refuse to participate in providing services for same-sex weddings.
Sen. Frank Ciccone (D-Providence), introduced legislation Wednesday which seeks to place the referendum on the 2014 ballot.
The referendum would allow religious leaders to refuse to perform same-sex weddings and say small businesses like caterers and florists could also decline to provide services to a gay couple’s wedding.
Gay marriage supporters including House Speaker Gordon Fox and Gov. Lincoln Chafee oppose efforts to put gay marriage on the ballot, arguing that it’s a civil right and shouldn’t be subject to popular vote.
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island has passed in the state House, but has not yet received a Senate vote.
Recent polling finds that 60 percent of Rhode Island voters support legalizing same-sex marriage.