Local mayors come out in favor of gay marriage

Andrea Medeiros


The gay marriage debate in Rhode Island continues to gain momentum. A handful of mayors came out, Monday, to show their support for gay marriage.

At the same time, a local group headed to D.C. to rally against gay marriage. Rhode Island is now the only state in New England that hasn't legalized it.

Chris Plante got ready to go to D.C., Monday. He'll rally against gay marriage, Tuesday, with 40 others from Rhode Island, as the Supreme Court hears arguments in the Prop 8 case. That's California's voter–approved ban on gay marriage.

“This will be a march as we've seen other marches on the national mall, with chanting and signs,” said Plante, “It is designed to be a public display that America does not want marriage redefined.”

Back in Rhode Island, we're just coming off of a marathon hearing last week in the Senate, where hundreds on both sides of gay marriage protested.

Now, a handful of mayors from Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Warwick and Cumberland are launching an effort called “Mayors for Marriage Equality”.

“It's just part of the norm,” said Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, “It's part of our culture today, we all understand that.”

“I want my daughter to be able to know that her father was on the right side of history,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

The mayors are persuading their constituents to recognize gay marriage. Right now, a bill to legalize it has already been passed in the House and is teetering on the edge in the Senate.

Another bill, that would let voters decide the issue in a referendum, hasn't been voted on yet.

“Everyone's fired up and we've come to a point in the debate, but what's important is if they're that confident in redefining marriage then it should go to a vote of the people,” said Plante.

Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung are against gay marriage. Fung, who's a possible candidate for governor, says he's for civil unions but not same sex marriage.