Proponents of marriage equality at the State House. WPRO file photo.
By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Senator Dawson Hodgson outlined the Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus' unanimous support of legalizing same-sex marriage.
"Our Senate Republican Caucus is deeply committed to the values of freedom, liberty and limited government," the statement read. "In accordance with those values, we believe that freedom means freedom for everyone, and that every citizen of Rhode Island deserves the freedom to marry the person they love."
The Senate Republican Caucus is small compared to the vast majority of Democrats who remain divided on the issue. The Senate Republicans include Senators Dennis Algiere of Westerly, David Bates of Barrington, Dawson Hodgson of East Greenwich, Nicholas Kettle of Coventry and Chris Ottiano of Bristol.
In their statement, the Caucus said they support Senate Bill 38, the marriage equality bill, because it "rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon."
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill this afternoon, as well as another piece of legislation that would put the issue of same-sex marriage to a public vote.
"We recognize that there is a national consensus building on this generational issue, and we are glad that support for the freedom to marry is growing within the Republican Party," the statement continues. "Today we join the 209 other Republican state legislators across America who have stood up for the freedom to marry. As a united Senate Republican Caucus, we are proud to add our voices to reaffirm the principles of freedom and equality under the law."
The email also says that the Rhode Island Senate Republicans are the first legislative caucus of either political party in any state to unanimously support marriage equality.