msnbc | January 24, 2013
>> is edging closer to passing marriage equality legislation. they may have a sea change as the state house is expected to pass a bill allowing anyone, quote, to marry anyone of any gender. in nine states, it's legal. five are in new england. if rhode island says yes, that will secure all the new england states. bill handy is the author of that bill and joins me now. there have been groups opposing this bill. some were quoted in a "new york times" article today that calls rhode island the last hold-out, and in its headline, your knver asked for this bill on the grounds of religious tolerance . as we watched the president give his full throated support of marriage equality in his inaugural address , there is a national mandate for tolerance in this country. do you think rhode island will pass this legislation?
>> i do think rhode island will. i think the momentum is really with this issue to bring the rights and responsibilities to all of our families here in the state of rhode island , the same kind of rights and responsibilities my wife and i have had for 16 years now.
>> the democratic senate's president is opposed to marriage equality , but says she will allow a vote to take place on this, again, coming up tonight. obviously, this is a well supported agenda piece on the left, whether it's in a state like rhode island or elsewhere around the country. there are many people, though, within the state legislation there in rhode island who are openly gay . why do you think there remains such opposition to this, if religious provisions are put in place like using maryland, for example?
>> well, again, i think the time has come forth, the momentum is showing that way. while there's always resistance to any change along the way, this is something that more and more rhode islanders know this is the right time for this, that families really need this access to these rights and responsibilities . that really the unique protections that only marriage can offer, and that's why i'm really excited about the history we're making in the state house tonight and in the house of representatives is going to be the first chamber in rhode island to vote for marriage equality tonight, and i believe that when folks have a chance to vote their conscious, they're going to vote for it.
>> explain the timeline after the vote this evening?
>> sure, i'm again optimistic we'll pass it out of the house today. it will move to the senate where they have a similar bill. there will be a committee hearing and a vote on that side. as it moves forward, i would like to see it move through the senate. there are more pro quality candidates elected here in the state of rhode island than any time in history and i think it's a demonstration of the momentum we have seen really around the whole country.
>> we'll watch and see what happened. sir, thanks for joining me.