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NARRAGANSETTâ€“Beginning their roughly six-month General Assembly session, Rhode Island's citizen legislature is now in a whirl of political activity.
Committee assignments are complete and politicians are hoping to accomplish stated goals before the political climate warms to an election year fever. With demonstrations supporting (and opposing) allowing gays and lesbians to marry, we at the Narragansett Times asked what state senators and representatives thought about this controversial issue as well what updates they could give the public on bills they were working to move through committees.
"I heard the gay marriage bill back in 1998," Rep. Donna Walsh said. "I have supported it then and I still support it nowâ€“I believe it is a civil right because as far as I have been told, supreme courts have ruled that marriage is a civil right.
"And as such, the courts did not define marriage as between one man and one woman," she continued. "Regarding the argument that gays getting married is a threat to traditional marriage--I will celebrate 50 years of marriage in Marchâ€“and I have never felt that same sex threatened my marriage!Â Many things might have, that was not one of them!Â All families should enjoy relationships called 'marriage.'"
Walsh is currently on the Corporations Committee, is the Vice Chairwoman and secretary of the Business Committee, Vice Chairwoman of the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee, and Chairwoman of the joint Committee on Economic Development. The bills the officials are working on are not titled yet (they are numbered) and they must be co-sponsored, be considered, and make it through hearings.
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