Rhode Island Approves Marriage Equality After 26-12 Senate Vote


Rhode Island has approved marriage equality in a 26-12 Senate vote.

The Rhode Island House passed the bill in January in a 51-19 vote. It must get another, largely procedural, vote there.

Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign the bill.

Rhode Island will be the 10th U.S. state to allow gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry, and every state in New England is now a marriage equality state!

Once signed, the bill should take effect in August.

ChafeeUPDATE: Chafee released the following statement...

I am always proud to be a Rhode Islander, but never more so than today.

After yesterday’s Judiciary Committee vote, I expressed my hope that the full Rhode Island Senate would pass a bill that chooses tolerance and fairness over division and discrimination. In passing the Marriage Equality Act, they have done just that.

I thank the Senators who have taken a stand to move Rhode Island forward and commend the Senate President for calling the roll. Great credit should go to Ray Sullivan, everyone at Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, and the countless volunteers who knocked on doors and participated in phone banks. Finally, I want to applaud the pioneers, such as the late Julie Pell, who for decades have fought for the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders. This day would not have been possible without their efforts.

Pending the final vote by the House of Representatives, Rhode Island will no longer be an outlier in our region. We will have the welcome mat out. We will be open for business, and we will once again affirm our legacy as a place that is tolerant and appreciative of diversity.

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  1. #GoRhody

    Posted by: NYC212 | Apr 24, 2013 5:47:51 PM

  2. Living and growing up here in RI i'm so excited. I always dreamt of getting married and now I can in my home state ^_^

    Posted by: juan | Apr 24, 2013 5:53:02 PM

  3. Keeping the momentum going!

    Posted by: Rexford | Apr 24, 2013 5:54:49 PM

  4. Not so fast. This still has to go back to the house to be revoted because of differences between the house and senate versions. Should be a formality, but it isn't a done deal yet.

    Posted by: Jonty Coppersmith | Apr 24, 2013 6:00:31 PM

  5. Congratulations RI! Hear that Maggie? It's the death knoll of bigotry.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Apr 24, 2013 6:00:35 PM

  6. 40 more to go...

    Supreme Court, are you listening?

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 24, 2013 6:02:35 PM

  7. Now all of New England has marriage equality. An entire region. Glad I switched sides. If I was still an opponent, I'd be pulling my hair out about now. How long can groups like NOM still remain in business? This issue isn't a done deal nationally yet, but it's fast approaching that point.

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 24, 2013 6:06:15 PM

  8. Finally made it into double digits! :o)
    I hope Brian Brown is choking on his bile.

    Posted by: David in the O.C. | Apr 24, 2013 6:07:05 PM

  9. The Senate arguments were so profound and amazing to hear. There were several questionable/No votes that came to our side and did so because they heard our stories, felt our pain that comes with being unequal and understood their fears regarding equality were unfounded.

    This vote also goes to show just how WIDE the cultural divide in this country is. At least half the states in the US have no shot of seeing equality in the near future. The entire South, Mountain West and much of the Midwest. Even in states like Illinois and Minnesota that are a bit less conservative than others, are struggling to find votes for equality and may not even have votes this year. I feel really bad for LGBTQ citizens in these states.

    The fight isn't over, but we're making headway every single day.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 24, 2013 6:09:14 PM

  10. Mary, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona have just reaffirmed state views against marriage equality. This fight is far from over. Especially if SCOTUS doesn't do the right thing by us in June. We should get states like Delaware and New Jersey in the very near future but throughout the South/Mountain West/Southwest (bar New Mexico) and much of the Midwest, it's a pipe dream for at least a few more years.

    We have to keep fighting and fight we will, but today and this week is a week to celebrate. Historic day, historic week and historic year.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 24, 2013 6:14:37 PM

  11. I'm so excited I'm going to put my shirt on!

    Posted by: Davey Wavey | Apr 24, 2013 6:15:35 PM

  12. LOL @ Davey Wavey

    Posted by: Colin | Apr 24, 2013 6:20:35 PM

  13. So now all 7 gay people in Rhode Island can get married?

    Sorry. Couldn't resist. This is awesome. Congrats, RI.

    Posted by: Zlick | Apr 24, 2013 6:30:43 PM

  14. The entirety of New England! Now we just have to finish the job in Old England!

    Posted by: Craig Nelson | Apr 24, 2013 6:39:28 PM

  15. This is happening so frequently in states and other countries it almost doesn't seem newsworthy. I love it!

    Posted by: bicurious | Apr 24, 2013 6:49:40 PM

  16. Very happy to hear this news from my college state--welcome back to New England, RI.

    And, as Francis said, a number of senators changed their minds because their friends, neighbors, and constituents sat them down and talked one-on-one. Personals stories matter. A few zealous nuts gave their religious ramblings, but their inability to separate church and state, illogic and reason didn't come close to ruling the day. They just seemed silly.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 24, 2013 7:03:44 PM

  17. Thank you RI and thank you New England!!

    Posted by: Chicklets | Apr 24, 2013 7:15:52 PM

  18. Is it possible for the wingnuts to challenge the decision with a referendum like in Maine?

    Posted by: simon | Apr 24, 2013 7:37:28 PM

  19. No, there is NO people's veto or other such process in RI. Once signed by the Governor, it is LAW and a done deal.

    Posted by: Bill S. | Apr 24, 2013 7:49:40 PM

  20. There are some more states like Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey and New Mexico that are possible in the next few years. But after that people will soon run up against firm constitutional amendments in deeply red states and the equality train is going to come to a sudden stop.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 24, 2013 8:25:28 PM

  21. Congratulations Rhode Islanders.

    Equality in the US is still a huge uphill battle. That's why the Prop 8 and DOMA SCOTUS rulings are so very important. Scalia, Thomas, & Alito are bought and sold anti-gay. We have to have hope that at least one (hopefully both) of Kennedy or Roberts look at the end results of their decisions as they pertain to civil rights.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 24, 2013 8:48:24 PM

  22. Please don't forget about us in Oklahoma. While you all celebrate marriage wins in new england and western state, many of us in small towns across America fear you'll completely forget about the rest of us in not so well connected states who are in love and ready to get married.

    I can only hope quality groups in states that have succeeded and won this battle will join forces and help us in smaller states! we see no hope in our future for marriage equality and our same sex relationships are just as worthy of equal rights.

    Posted by: InLoveinOk | Apr 24, 2013 8:53:54 PM

  23. @ Steve

    Don't be sure about that. The equality train won't be coming to ANY stop any time soon. Know that. And know the LGBT community is way too galvanized to ever let that happen.

    Posted by: Scott Johansen | Apr 24, 2013 8:55:24 PM

  24. Steve
    lol how foolish and ignorant. You really think our allies, our organizations, our grass roots efforts and our community will stop the equality train? This momentum is just starting and until gay people are treated with the exact rights and respect heterosexuals are afforded, we'll keep taking our cause to the highest court of the land.

    Posted by: Hugh | Apr 24, 2013 8:56:46 PM

  25. If the equality train were only about individual states, it might come to a sudden stop, but it's not. There are the vital Supreme Court cases, and the tipping point if Section 3 of DOMA is ruled unconstitutional and marriage returns to CA and happens in big population states like IL and NJ. The dominoes will fall.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 24, 2013 8:59:33 PM

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