Same-Sex Marriage Fight Visits Senate Judiciary Committee

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

“And the land of the free,” sang the crowd at the Statehouse.

Hundreds on both sides of the gay marriage debate sang the National Anthem in the Statehouse Rotunda.

It was about all the agreed on.

Some same–gender couples came hoping to marry.

Michael Santos was there with his boyfriend and said, “My partner Daniel and I got engaged this past year and we just recently moved to Rhode Island.”

Anita Parenty feels that way too, saying, “I am hoping to get married to my girlfriend of four–and–a–half years.”

Opponents lined up in the hallway hoping to stop same sex marriage.

Gay marriage opponent Rafael Milan said, “It's the religious rights of one man- one woman to be together and that's how it should remain naturally.”

Kara Young also opposes same gender marriage and said, “This immoral behavior that God is very clearly against, in both the Old and the New Testaments.

The Senate Judiciary heard hour after hour of testimony both for and against gay marriage.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “One of the issues still to be decided is whether the General Assembly will decide this issue once and for all, or whether voters will in a ballot initiative.”

Many opponents of same sex marriage think a voter referendum is their best chance to win.

But some Senators believe it's the General Assembly's job.

State Sen. Adam Satchell (D-RI) said, “I don't think that it should go on the ballot. I don't think that people's rights should be debated on a ballot. I think as legislators, we should make the laws.”

Right now it's unclear whether same-sex marriage can even get approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee.