Same-sex marriage testimony goes into early morning hours

Rhode Island senators heard testimony all night at the State House on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

The pivotal Senate Judiciary Committee hearing adjourned just before 5 a.m. Friday. About 650 people had signed up to speak, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a supporter of gay marriage.

Some people who testified didn't get before the committee until nearly 2 a.m. But did what they say make a difference?

"We have a number of first year senators on the committee and I have to think that was a very impactful committee hearing last night," said state Sen. Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket).

Nesslebush stayed until 5 a.m. It is her bill calling for the laws to change.

"The stories are heartfelt. People poured out their heard. Their difficulties in coming out, the thought that so many gay people have that they'll never be able to get married. That's a painful moment in so many gay people's lives," she said.

The legislation has passed in the House, but its fate on the Senate side is unclear. The committee has not scheduled a vote, and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has been a notable opponent.

Opponents say a same-sex marriage law would force their religions to recognize something that violates their beliefs. Some at least want the question to be put to a popular vote.

Rhode Island is the only New England state that doesn't allow same-sex couples to wed.

NBC 10 contributed to this report.