What finally broke the logjam in Rhode Island to bring a marriage equality victory? Bloomberg says it was a primary challenge:
These opponents gave up because they fear the electoral power of same-sex marriage supporters. One Democrat who was against marriage equality lost a primary in 2012; others won but didn’t want to face similar challenges in 2014. WPRI-TV’s Dan McGowan and Ted Nesi report:
“Last year’s elections saw FightBackRI, a well-funded and highly organized political action committee, target lawmakers who were opposed to same-sex marriage. The group focused its efforts on the Senate because it was confident the bill would pass in the House, where openly gay Speaker Gordon Fox is a longtime proponent of the measure. FightBackRI’s most high-profile challenge was against Judiciary Committee Chairman Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, who fought off Laura Pisaturo in the toughest re-election fight of his two-decade career. While the results at the polls were mixed for the group, the challenges represented a shot across the bow at incumbent Democrats — and a sign gay-marriage supporters were unlikely to give up.”
Now that the Democratic Party is solidly behind marriage equality, more and more fence-sitters will come down on our side.