In a recent Reuters article written by Edith Honan entitled: Rhode Island lawmakers pass gay marriage bill; governor signs it, is reported that on Thursday the smallest in area of the 50 U.S. states Rhode Island became the 10th U.S. state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples and the last of the six New England states to do so.
Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, signed the bill yesterday shortly after its approval. The first wedding ceremonies will be possible on August 1, when the law will take effect.
“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,” said Chafee. “I am proud to say that now, at long last, you are free to marry the person you love.”
Later the governor together with the state’s main gay rights organization, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, celebrated their victory in the state capital Providence.
Despite the victory was evident, some in the state continued to express strong opposition.
Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence being “profoundly disappointed” called Catholics to “examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies.”
Along with the five other New England states – Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut – same-sex marriages also are legal in Washington, Iowa, New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Similar bills are awaiting decision or settlement in Delaware, Illinois and Minnesota. In New Jersey, Democrats have to wait until next January to try to reject Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a same-sex marriage bill in that state.