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Breaking: Rhode Island House gives final approval to marriage equality bill, governor signs it into law

Marriage equality

By Jacob CombsRhode Island State House

The Rhode Island House today voted 56-15 to pass a final version of a proposed marriage equality bill, paving the way for same-sex couples in the state to access full marriage rights. Rhode Island is the 10th state to legalize marriage equality.

The House approved an earlier version of the bill overwhelmingly in a 51-19 vote in January. Minor changes to the legislation pertaining to religious exemptions language were added when the state Senate approved the bill, and today’s vote was largely a formality.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee is scheduled to sign the bill into law in a ceremony on the State House steps at 5:45 p.m. today following the bill’s success in the House. In an opinion piece published yesterday in the New York Times, Gov. Chafee wrote, “I personally feel that Rhode Island is a better state, and America is a better country, when we are as inclusive as possible.”

The bill will go into effect on August 1.

We’ll have more on the signing ceremony when it occurs. Congratulations, Rhode Island!

UPDATE (6:55 p.m. Eastern): Gov. Chafee has signed equal marriage rights legislation into law, officially making Rhode Island the 10th marriage equality state.

“I am proud to say that now at long last, you are free to marry the person you love!” Chafee said at a signing ceremony outside the Capitol building. “Today we are making history. We are living up to the ideals of our founders.”

During an emotional speech at today’s ceremony, House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is gay, spoke about his relationship with his partner Marcus. “We’re not going to be talking about same-sex marriage anymore,” he said. “We’re going to be talking about marriage.”

After he signed the legislation, Gov. Chafee handed it to Speaker Fox. The Speaker lifted it in the air to cheers from the crowd.

1 Comment

  • 1. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  May 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    […] states now providing equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.  On May 2, Rhode Island became the 10th state in the union with marriage equality; Delaware followed as the 11th state on May 7.  Both […]

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