Five days after New York legalized gay marriage, Rhode Island is headed in a similar direction. On Wednesday evening, the Rhode Island state Senate passed a bill that legalizes civil unions for same-sex couples.
The House already passed the bill, and Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee has indicated he will sign it into law. Gay-rights advocates have protested that the bill is discriminatory because it leaves the door open for religious institutions not to recognize the unions. (Obama almost approves of same-sex marriage)
The bill is a compromise piece of legislation that was offered earlier this year by Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox, who also happens to be openly gay.
Ken McKay, chairman of the state Republican Party, slammed the bill, telling The Daily Caller its passage shows a state government with distorted priorities.
“Rhode Island was ranked the 50th state to do business in,” said McKay.
“The General Assembly passed a budget that raises taxes, has a sleazy casino deal in it, and now gets to the hard business of passing an unpopular civil union bill,” he added sarcastically. “The Democrats and Chafee think that this awful budget is an answer to our economic development woes. They’re completely out of touch.”
If Chafee signs the bill, Rhode Island will join Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey by becoming the fifth state to recognize civil unions.
Along with New York, five other states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut.