Last night, with the stroke of the Governor’s pen, Rhode Island has become the 10th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage.
Though Rhode Island boasts a majority Catholic population, the state’s House passed the bill with a 56-15 margin, and Governor Lincoln Chafee signed it shortly after.
“Now, at long last, you are free to marry the person that you love,” Chafee told the audience at the statehouse according to AP following the bill’s signing.
The bill achieved bi-partisan support after RI’s GOP agreed that limiting same-sex marriage was in direct conflict with the party’s principles of personal liberties. “Our Senate Republican Caucus is deeply committed to the values of freedom, liberty and limited government,” said RI’s Senate Republican’s in a release in late April. “In accordance with those values, we believe that freedom means freedom for everyone, and that every citizen of Rhode Island deserves the freedom to marry the person they love.”
Marriages will begin August 1st. Civil unions will no longer be issued, (RI legalized civil unions 2 years ago) however civil unions issued before the marriage bill’s passage will continue to be honored.