Rhode Island Legalizes Gay Marriage

Same-sex weddings in Rhode Island will be permitted starting Aug. 1, 2013. (Google Images)
Same-sex weddings in Rhode Island will be permitted starting Aug. 1, 2013. (Google Images)

Rhode Island became the 10th U.S. state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples Thursday, the last of the six New England states to do so.

Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, signed the bill into law almost immediately after the final vote. It will take effect on August 1.

“We would not be where we are today without the Rhode Islanders who for decades have fought for tolerance and freedom over discrimination and division,” Chafee said. “I am proud to say that now, at long last, you are free to marry the person you love.”

The governor later joined the state’s main gay rights organization, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, at a victory party in Providence.

Last week, the Democratic-led state Senate approved the measure with the support of the entire Republican caucus. The state House had approved a similar bill in January and on Thursday approved the Senate’s amended bill.

Despite the victory, some in the state continued to voice strong opposition.

In an open letter, Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said he was “profoundly disappointed” by the vote and encouraged Catholics to “examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies.”

The vote marks the latest in a string of victories for gay marriage advocates. Last November, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state approved same-sex marriage, while in Minnesota, voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Before that point, advocates of same-sex marriage had never been successful at the ballot box, and voters in more than two dozen states had approved constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Lawmakers in Illinois, Delaware and Minnesota have joined Rhode Island in taking up same-sex marriage legislation this year. In Delaware, the bill has passed the state’s lower house and is scheduled for a vote in the upper house on May 7.

New Jersey Democrats, meanwhile, have until next January to attempt to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a same-sex marriage bill in that state.

Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. The other five states where it’s legal are Connecticut, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa. The District of Columbia also has approved same-sex marriage.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox beat White Sox…

Red Sox walk 15 times in extra innings win

NBA

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics:…

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics: 'I hope to be back'

NBA

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery…

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery odds with loss

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.