Rhode Island becomes tenth state to make same-sex marriage legal
May 2nd, 2013
10:59 AM ET
12 months ago

Rhode Island becomes tenth state to make same-sex marriage legal

(CNN) - Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage after the state legislature approved the measure Thursday, making Rhode Island the tenth state in the nation to give same-sex couples the right to wed.

Last week both the Rhode Island House and Senate approved by large margins measures allowing same-sex marriage, but more votes were required after the legislation was tweaked. The law will go into effect August 1.

Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Their combined populations, based on U.S. Census estimates for 2012, represent 15.8% of the U.S. population.

The addition of Rhode Island's 1,050,292 residents will nudge that up to 16.1%.

"Today's vote shows that marriage doesn't belong to a particular party or ideology, and increasingly, the public and politicians alike realize that only marriage provides loving couples and families with the protection they need and deserve," said Chad Griffin, the president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.

"That the entire Rhode Island Senate GOP caucus joined with a vast majority of Democratic lawmakers to live up to the state's values in voting for marriage will inspire more momentum in more states," added Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for pro-same-sex marriage group Freedom to Marry. "It is time now for the Supreme Court to uphold these American values for all loving and committed couples."

Christopher Plante, the Rhode Island regional director for the National Organization for Marriage, opposed the law, saying it omitted important religious protections that have been included in other states' laws.

"Redefining marriage into a genderless institution to satisfy the demands of a small but politically powerful group is bad enough, but besides advocating a flawed policy HB 5015 and SB 38 contain a shocking lack of religious liberty protections," Plante wrote, saying the bill, at a minimum, should have included legal protections for individuals, businesses and groups who refuse to serve or participate in same-sex marriages.

In March, a divided United States Supreme Court heard arguments over the legality of two marriage laws – the federal Defense of Marriage act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

The nine justices hinted at disparate views on the hot-button issue, though it was far from clear how they will rule. A decision is expected in June.

CNN's Tom Watkins and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Rhode Island • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Tea Party Thomas

    Please show me in the bible one gay marriage. What we are doing in this country is against the teaching of the bible.
    If we keep this up we are all going to hell.

    Conservative values for a Conservative America
    Rand Paul 2016

    May 2, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Derek

    New England, for the sweep!

    May 2, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. rs

    Little by little, the GOP loses the culture wars they so gleefully set up in the '80s. It is true that women's rights are seriously threatened by the GOP, as are voting rights. I feel however, the general hatred for the Right's brand- especially after voting the NRA , er, party line on Background Checks will doom them. America will not succumb to their hatred and division.

    May 2, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    An entire region of the country has chosen FREEDOM & LIBERTY over limited freedom & liberty. When will the rest of the country catch up?

    May 2, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Homer Simpson

    Sorry, but this diminishes alot of peoples view of marraige, all to cater to gays, that is exactly what preferential treatment is, everyones marraige now means less, millenias passed, now all of a sudden its ok, passage of time does not mean gods views on homosexuality has evolved

    May 2, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. rs

    Tea Party Thomas

    Please show me in the bible one gay marriage. What we are doing in this country is against the teaching of the bible.
    If we keep this up we are all going to hell.
    _________________________
    Thankfully we are not a theocratic state and our Constitution strictly forbids the existance of a state religion.
    That means you are free to not engage in single-sex marriage, and the rest of us are free from your narrow political and religious viewpoints.

    May 2, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    Tea Party Thomas

    Please show me in the bible one gay marriage. What we are doing in this country is against the teaching of the bible.
    If we keep this up we are all going to hell.
    ---------------------

    too bad Torquemada. You and the rest of the thumpers are losing big time in this issue. And BTW, YOUR bible has no bearing over the majority of people in this country. You may think so but it's people like you (in Iran/ Saudi Arabia where the Koran is followed) that need to rethink their life NOT the other way around.

    May 2, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. rs

    Please explain how treating one group of people EXACTLY like another is "preferential"? For extra credit: explain how allowing a gay couple equal rights in any way diminishes your marriage?
    Be careful! Your answer may prove you don't understand real Christian values!

    May 2, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Cephus

    The tenth state which have sold the souls of its people to the devil. We can't stop you but there is the one who is going to bring this to an end JESUS CHRIST that's whom those ten States are trending on.

    May 2, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Doug in NYC

    @ Tea Party Thomas: Please show me EXACTLY in the United States Constitution where the Bible and christian beleifs are mentioned.

    @ Homer Simpson: Anyone who lets same sex marriage diminish their own view on marriage, must not be too secure. PLease show me EXACTLY how this diminishes so called traditional marriage. As you well know, and many people choose to ignore, marriage has NOT been the same for thousands of years, but has been redefined many times! Most recently when interractial marriage was legalized.

    I'm so sick of christians forcing their views on people through legislation!

    May 2, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Cephus

    Those war is not between Democrats and Republicans cultural issues on the contrary its all about rebellion against God. I wish you would realize what you are doing and what you are dealing with. Gods punishment is so severe that it pours like rain without discrimination. Tighten your belts America you can't go on rebelling and get away with it.

    May 2, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Guest

    Wow, the northeast is turning into a liberal cesspool.......thats why I'll never move back.

    May 2, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. TomInRochNY

    @Tea Party Thomas

    Do you believe in an all knowing, all powerful, compassionate god? Then why does he allow those who believe in him to kill each other in his name? He either doesn't know what's going on, can't stop it or doesn't care.

    May 2, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. PJ

    "What we are doing in this country is against the teaching of the Bible...
    ---–
    Perhaps you should consider that the Bible is for Christians to follow, and for Churches to teach the Word.
    The Jewish people have the Koran,
    The atheists have nothing,
    But,
    The Constitution is for all of the people, all of the time.
    We are all sinners, and perhaps the Church could do a better job teaching, and concentrate less on
    politics.
    I hate to remind you that your words, and the words of others on this blog are also "against the teaching of
    the Bible". I include myself, because the hate that is spewed here upsets me.

    May 2, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. Ferathka

    Slowly but surely we will finally have equality. The GOP is loosing on every single social issue. THe party that wants smaller government but wants to tell you how to live is not winning the hearts and minds.

    May 2, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    TomInRochNY

    @Tea Party Thomas

    Do you believe in an all knowing, all powerful, compassionate god? Then why does he allow those who believe in him to kill each other in his name? He either doesn't know what's going on, can't stop it or doesn't care.
    ------–
    Those who kill "in God's name" clearly don't understand what God expects from those who are believers.

    May 2, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. I am

    Whenever I read the place where it says men marry men and woman, women, I wonder if that generation was born in right mind! Even what the worst of wild beast won't do! What is become of humans? Like Rev. Martin Luther once said, "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will" so has generations evolved not knowing their father or mother, even their name! Yet claim to be children of civilized world! Well, a tree that has grown old must fall for new ones to take their place! For those like me out there, rejoice when you see these things for it draws the end of your sufferings. Yet every word must be fulfiled.

    May 2, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. republicans: not here to help the middle class, just here to stir the crap

    What? No southern states yet? I tried to date a southern belle once, she told me no, I wasn't related.

    May 2, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "everyones marraige now means less,"

    Translation: "I'm butthurt because my self-declared moral superiority is being proven a farce and a lie."

    May 2, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. John from Brooklyn

    Homer Simpson....you have it exactly backwards. The legalization of same-sex marriage does NOTHING to limit the value of straight peoples' marriages whatsoever...except in the MINDS of homophobes. So what you're suggesting is that an entire class of people should have their legal civil liberties LIMITED just so that others can FEEL BETTER about themselves? Please...that isn't the America that most of us love and cherish.

    May 2, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. John from Brooklyn

    I Am....I love the Martin Luther King quote. Unfortunately, you haven't applied it to yourself. YOU are the one who has only a shallow understanding of the struggle for civil liberties that gay people go through every day. In fact, I would assert – as Martin Luther King spoke about tepid supporters of civil rights for minorities – that YOU, my friend, are more dangerous to the future of civil liberties for all Americans than the people who outright hate us.

    May 2, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Hammerer

    If being gay is normal, why are so many still in the closet?
    If it is the truth that a person is born gay and not a choice, why do so many of the leaders in the government still hide their feelings?
    Are they ashamed or hyporites?

    May 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Southern/Red states are going to start to deporting their LGBT citizens to New England.

    May 2, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Kevin1

    First. This is a secular country, NOT a Christian country.

    Second. The United States of America is governed by the
    US Constitution, which OVER RULE biblical law.

    Third. Anyone who want this country to live by biblical laws
    is saying WE should be like the Nations of the Middle East., I. e.
    Iran, Pakistan, etc.

    Fourth. The US Constitution & The Bill Of Right, FORBID
    any & all forms of DISCRIMATION against any & all
    US CITIZENS.

    Fifth. God & Christ was & is all about LOVE. My God & my
    Christ also to me "Do Not Judge, Lest I Be Judge".

    America is for all its citizens, my bible laws is for Me & Myself
    & I.

    Now do you Republican conservative get it.

    America won't be destroyed my Marrige Equality.
    Your Marrige won't be any different, espically if you
    stop all the hate.

    Do you really think God & Christ want you to live your
    life just HATING people who are different from you , because
    you will be hating 6,999,999,999.00 million people, I exclude
    1 person because you will be alone.

    May 2, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Jewish people have the Koran
    -------------------------------------------------
    Actually I think the Jewish people have the Torah and Talmud, but the rest of your post is quite valid.
    @Homer Simpson
    How can gays getting married diminish your marriage?
    WTH?!

    May 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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