January 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
White House responds to R.I. marriage equality bills

The White House has responded to pending legislation in Rhode Island that would legalize marriage equality in that state, suggesting President Obama backs the approval of the bills in the last New England state without same-sex marriage rights.

“While the President does not weigh in on every measure being considered by the states, he believes all couples should be treated fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” said White House spokesperson Shin Inouye. “As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so.”

Inouye delivered the statement to the Washington Blade earlier this week in response to a request for comment on the legislation, which was introduced last week in the House by State Rep. Arthur Handy and the Senate by lesbian State Sen. Donna Nesselbush. A vote is expected later this month.

The response to the Rhode Island legislation is similar to a statement on legislation in Illinois issued late last month. In that response — the first time the White House has weighed in on pending marriage equality legislation before a state legislature — Inouye specifically mentioned Illinois and said Obama would vote for the marriage equality legislation if he were still a member of the state legislature.


Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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