EG's 2 Senators Could Play Big Roles In Marriage Equality Debate

Sen. Hodgson is a strong proponent of allowing same-sex marriage; Sen. Raptakis – a member of the Judiciary Committee that will hear the bill – is opposed.

On Tuesday, the House is expected to take up a bill that would allow same-sex marriage. House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence), who is gay, has pledged to get the bill passed in that chamber early in the session. Then, it moves over to the Senate, where it's course if far less certain.

And that's where it gets interesting for residents of East Greenwich, because its two senators – Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35) and Sen. Leo Raptakis (D-Dist. 33) – are likely to have large roles in the debate.

EG's state representative, Anthony Giarrusso (R-Dist. 30), opposes same-sex marriage.

As Edward Fitzpatrick of the Providence Journal reported Sunday, Hodgson is a Republican champion of marriage equality in the Senate.

“I was raised to believe that every American is equal under the Constitution and every human is equal under God,” he told Fitzpatrick. “Marriage is a collection of rights, benefits and privileges, and when the government confers those rights on any two individuals, they have to be available to any two individuals under the law.”

Meanwhile, Raptakis is opposed to gay marriage, as is the president of the Senate, Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13). Paiva Weed named Raptakis to a seat on the Judiciary Committee, where the bill will be heard. 

"I believe in a traditional marriage between a man and a woman," said Raptakis in an interview Sunday. "That's my personal opinion."

That said, the Coventry resident said he would have "no problem if the bill is amended to allow for a voter referendum." He noted that other issues were handled that way, including casino gambling and voting rights for released felons.

Raptakis said even if the House acts quickly on marriage equality, there's no way to know when or if the Senate will act on the legislation. It will be up to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29), who opposes same-sex marriage.

The opposing roles of the two EG senators turn national party stands on their head and, Hodgson told Fitzpatrick, that could make a difference.

“Marriage equality may happen because no Democrat wants to get lectured on civil rights by a Republican,” he said in the article.





pam January 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Erika Calling people who disagree with you haters (in this case people who believe in the sanctity of marriage) is an intimidation tactic. It does work very well for no one wants to be thought of as a hater. But I have usually found that the first to throw out that label are people who are trying to mask their own hatreds and bigotries.
pam January 16, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I heard from people who were at the State House yesterday for the hearing that the supporters of the sanctity of marriage far outnumbered the supporters of those who want to redefine marriage, but you won't hear about that from the media. Thank you Senator Raptikis and Representative Giarrusso.
Alicarn January 19, 2013 at 02:56 PM
To those who oppose gay marriage (ugh, I hate that term - it's just marriage) I always like to ask a question. When did they decide that they were straight? Usually they can't answer and that's when I remind them that there really is no choice, that you are born straight or you are born gay, period. I don't think anyone would chose to be gay; to choose to be harassed, preyed upon and discriminated against. Why would you chose to go through life knowing that you would find discrimination EVERYWHERE you go? Family, school, church, jobs, etc.. Our own government has told people it's okay to hate those who are gay. We are ALL EQUAL and the closed minded legislators across our country will be waking up and doing what is right. EVERY little girl or boy needs to know that when they grow up and fall in love and choose to marry - that they can, regardless of their sexual preference. The majority should never be allowed to vote on the rights of the minority. Equality for all.
KK January 19, 2013 at 03:36 PM
I am really sorry to hear that information about the State House, Pam. It goes to show how close minded many in RI happen to be. I am sorry that Rep. Giarusso represents me and is going to be voting on my behalf.
jim halsband February 03, 2013 at 05:27 PM
The sanctity of marriage and all the love and flowers, and deeply religious fervor, very lovely picture, indeed! Wow, I'm getting all weepy, then why all the divorce lawyers ending half of all the deeply beloveds!! Come everyone, the marriage license closes a business deal, who gets the house, the kids, the cash, that is all it is, a legal business arrangement that protects both parties when the magical love vanishes and the acrimony soon dictates the alimony! This is business and should not be subject to personal religious agendas and ideologies of elected officials to represent all of our rights. Just sayin', as I've been married a few too many times, and have a right to my opinion.


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