PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The number of U.S. states allowing gay marriage is set to enter double digits now that Rhode Island’s state Senate has taken a landmark vote.
The Senate endorsed a bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed Wednesday. It has already passed the House but must return for a final, procedural vote next week. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY’-fee) says he will sign the bill.
Gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders cheered at the Statehouse following the vote. Bills to legalize gay marriage have stalled in this heavily Catholic state for nearly 20 years.
This year, an aggressive and coordinated campaign helped ease the bill’s passage. Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, a Providence Democrat and a Catholic, says she wrestled with her vote but decided to vote yes after hearing the personal stories of gays and lesbians in her district.