Marriages could begin August 1
Late Wednesday afternoon the Rhode Island Senate voted 26 to 12 in favor of legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. Governor Lincoln Chafee has pledged to sign the bill, which will make Rhode Island the final New England state to legally recognize gay marriage. Rhode Island becomes the tenth state with marriage equality for gay couples.
“Today the Rhode Island Senate simply affirmed what the majority of their constituents believe: that loving, committed same-sex couples in Rhode Island need and deserve the dignity and respect that only marriage can provide,” said Janson Wu, staff attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “Marriage makes for stronger families, which in turn makes for stronger communities. This is a momentous day for all Rhode Islanders.
The bill will next go to the House for a procedural vote then to Chaffe who will sign marriage equality into law. The procedural vote will likely happen next week.
Same-sex marriage could begin August 1. The unpopular civil union, which lawmakers approved two years agos, would no longer be available. Few couples have entered into civil unions.
The District of Columbia also recognizes same-sex marriage. Activists hope Delaware join the fold this year.
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