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PROVIDENCE â€” A bill to legitimize same sex marriage, which both its sponsor and its most vehement opponent agreed was, â€śThe most important piece of legislation (the House) will ever considerâ€ť passed the House of Representative on a 51-19 vote Thursday.
When Rep. Gordon Fox, the first openly gay man to be elected Speaker of the House, banged his gavel after the vote and declared â€śthe act prevails,â€ť there were loud cheers, a standing ovation in the spectator galleries and sustained whooping and clapping that lasted for several minutes before Fox banged his gavel again to adjourn the session.
Fox, who took heat from the gay and progressive communities two years ago when he compromised a marriage equality bill down to allow civil unions, clearly reveled in the moment, joined in the dais by his longtime partner Marcus LaFond. Fox had promised at the beginning of this yearâ€™s session to pass a same-sex marriage bill out of the House and over to the Senate by the end of January.
He beat that deadline by a full week.
Read more in our print edition.