by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter
Cheers went up in the Rhode Island Statehouse as the House approved legalizing same sex marriage.
Out in the hallways, supporters were making plans, even though gay marriage is not a done deal yet.
Larry Bacon, who supports same-sex marriage said, "My partner and I have been together 36 years on Tuesday, and we would like to get married."
Susan Heroux wants to marry her lesbian partner, "We really do look forward to getting married someday and living our lives together. Just the way that everyone else does, you know."
Debate on the house floor was spirited.
State Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-RI) supports same gender marriage saying, "For all Rhode Islanders, end discrimination, and bring equality to all of our families, and I would ask for everyone's support."
State Rep. Arthur Corvese (D-RI) opposes same sex marriage, saying "Marriage being one man and one woman. Thus to allow gay marriage, to allow law on the books to allow gay marriage would be contrary to the natural order."
After an hour–plus of debate, the vote was called.
ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said,
"In the end, the vote wasn't even close: 51 for; 19 against. But the real challenge ahead, is in the Rhode Island Senate."
While the Senate President opposes same-sex marriage she won't stop a committee vote.
But the sides are divided on whether the full Senate will ever get to vote,
Chris Plante from the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Marriage said, "We have to be quite honest, that with the makeup of the judiciary committee, that this bill won't see the light of day."
But openly gay House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-RI) said, "I think that ultimately, when they listen to the advocates, and when the see where the arc of justice in this great state of ours goes, that they are going to be in favor of this as well."
For now, no votes on same-sex marriage are scheduled in the Rhode Island Senate.