It's been another banner week for advocates of marriage equality in Rhode Island. On Wednesday, both the Rhode Island AFL-CIO and the Newport Democratic City Committee announced their endorsement of the marriage equality legislation pending before the Rhode Island General Assembly. The legislation would provide full marriage protections to all Rhode Island couples, regardless of sexual orientation or identity. The Rhode Island AFL-CIO endorsement is significant because the group serves as the umbrella organization for more than 250 local unions and represents more than 80,000 workers in the state. Wednesday's announcement marks the first time the group's executive board has voted to endorse legislation that would allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Rhode Island. Also noteworthy: of the 40 executive board members who attended the March meeting, all voted to affirm the group's statement in support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. On Wednesday, the Newport Democratic City Committee also announced their vote to endorse the proposed marriage equality legislation pending before the Rhode Island General Assembly. Speaking on behalf of the committee, Chairman J. Clement "Bud" Cicilline made the announcement:
"It is the position of the Newport Democratic City Committee that every person in our country should be treated with fairness and dignity, especially in matters of social justice," said Cicilline. "As such, the committee is proud to add its voice to the growing number of Rhode Islanders calling on the General Assembly to pass marriage equality legislation this year."Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), a grassroots organization working to secure marriage equality for all Rhode Island couples, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, is deeply grateful for these important endorsements. "Our organization has a strong network of allies in every legislative district in the state and it's becoming increasingly clear a majority of Rhode Islanders support the passage of marriage equality legislation this year," said Ray Sullivan, campaign director for MERI. Wednesday's endorsements are but the latest contributions to the momentum that's building for marriage equality in Rhode Island. Less than three weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) wrote a powerful op-ed in support of marriage equality in Rhode Island and the nation. March also witnessed the unveiling of a poignant television ad in support of marriage equality in Rhode Island. GLAAD conducted media training for MERI in November, and we continue to work closely with the network of advocates who are working tirelessly to make marriage equality a reality in Rhode Island this year. We are also planning to be on the ground again in Rhode Island, conducting additional spokesperson trainings in the coming weeks.