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
Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Local

Body found believed to be missing Fitchburg boy…

The body of a child found off of a highway in Sterling last week is likely that of missing Fitchburg boy Jeremiah Oliver, authorities said.

Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.