RI marriage equality vote expected in 2013
The state Senate president said Monday she anticipates a committee vote on same-sex marriage in the coming legislative session, despite her opposition to it, if the House of Representatives endorses it. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, a Newport Democrat, said her opposition to same-sex marriage, which kept the legislation from being heard last year, has not changed but she expects the issue will be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee if the House advances a bill. House Speaker Gordon Fox, a Providence Democrat who is openly gay, has said he intends to call an early vote on gay-marriage legislation and passing it is one of his top priorities. The House did not vote last year after it became clear legislation wouldn't pass the Senate in the face of strong opposition from Paiva Weed. Both chambers instead passed a civil union law that independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed into law. Paiva Weed said the Senate wouldn't take up the bill on its own, only after the House acts. But, she added, "I do anticipate a vote in the Senate Judiciary committee." Asked to characterize her stance on the issue, Paiva Weed said only: "My position has not changed."