CRANSTON, R.I. —
The Rhode Island Senate is in no hurry to take up the same-sex marriage bill passed in the House.
House lawmakers approved the bill in a 51-19 vote Thursday.
The debate has been ongoing for more than a decade, and in the Senate there is opposition from the president.
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has said that she will allow the bill to get a hearing and vote in committee. Appearing Friday on “10 News Conference,” she said the debate in the Senate will revolve around two points.
“Should there be a referendum — and I’m not suggesting the DOMA referendum — rather a referendum more in the spirit of Maine or Maryland. If there’s not going to be a referendum and there is going to be marriage equality legislation, will the exemption remain the same as it is in the House or will it be a more expanded religious exemption? I think those are the two issues that the debate will focus upon in the Senate,” Paiva Weed said.
Besides the House bill, there is a companion bill in the Senate. Both will go to the Judiciary Committee.
Chairman Michael McCaffery has said he will hold hearings, but not before spring.