Rhode Island is about to become the tenth state in the union to recognize same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the Rhode Island Senate voted 26-12 to recognize same-sex marriages in the state. The bill must still be passed in the Rhode Island House and signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee, but both are set to approve the bill without struggle.
The bill was previously passed by the Rhode Island House in January with a vote of 51-19, but, because the Senate made a few changes to the same-sex marriage bill, it must be preapproved sometime next week, according to the Associated Press. Governor Chafee, of the Independent party, has promised to sign the bill, Think Progress reports.
Under the new bill, Rhode Island will officially begin recognizing same sex marriage on Aug. 1.
"This is a historic piece of legislation, one that literally has been in the works for more than 20 years," Democratic Sen. Donna Nesselbush told the Associated Press. "This is something that undoes centuries of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples."
When Rhode Island’s same-sex marriage bill officially goes into effect on Aug 1, Rhode Island will become the tenth state (not including the District of Columbia) to recognize same-sex marriage in the U.S. The bill’s passage will also mean that all six New England states will support same-sex marriage.
Because Rhode Island’s same-sex marraige bill was passed with flying colors by the state’s House, the Rhode Island Senate was seen as its major opponent. Democratic Rhode Island Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed promised in 2011 to block a bill proposing same-sex marriage from even entering the floor, according to Think Progress. Weed was reportedly opposed to the bill on religious grounds.
Delaware may also soon become the next state in the union to recognize same-sex marriage. The Delaware House narrowly passed a bill approving same-sex marriage on Tuesday, AP reports. The bill will be heading to the Delaware Senate for approval within the coming days.