State senators voted 21-16 to endorse the bill, about two hours after it was voted out of committee. The legislation, which already has passed the state House, allows gay couples to enter into civil unions that offer the same rights and benefits given to married couples under Rhode Island law.
It is now headed to Chafee’s desk for his signature. Ahead of the vote, the independent governor called the legislation an “incremental step” toward allowing gay marriage, which he supports.
It is true this is an incremental step. There will come a day down the road when all 50 states protect equality in marriage and we’ll all be able to point to the times today as being instrumental in achieving that goal. But we’ll also be able to point to these days as a time when ‘separate but equal’ arguments were allowed to exist once again. I think future generations will understand, but they will also ultimately be disappointed that there was ever such a struggle.