by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter


Legal same–sex marriages are now being performed in nine states.

That number will jump to ten if Rhode Island state representative art handy is successful, in getting his gay marriage bill passed through the General Assembly.

State Rep. Art Handy, (D-RI) said, "It's just to me, the right thing. You know I don't see any reason why two loving people can't have the same rights and responsibilities that my wife and I have."

Rhode Island is the only New England state, without same gender weddings.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "We do know this will not be the only gay marriage bill proposed this year. There is another one out there which will allow voters to decide the gay marriage issue through a ballot referendum, instead of letting the General Assembly decide."

Whether it's a legislative vote, or a referendum, opposing groups are already gearing up for a fight.

Chris Plante, from the National Organization for Marriage said, "We will strongly oppose it. The National Organization for Marriage believes firmly that marriage – between one man and one woman – the fabric of our society, should not be changed."

The critical player this year is the State Senate President who has not allowed a vote on same–sex marriage in the past. Now her stance on a vote has changed.

ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis asked the Senator, "Even though you are personally against the concept, you are not going to stand in the way of it becoming law, if that's the will of the General Assembly?

State Sen. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-RI said, "Absolutely not."

But others in the Senate could block the bill, including a key committee chairman.

On the other hand openly gay House Speaker Gordon Fox is likely to get fast approval for same–sex marriage in his chamber.