Rhode Island’s Senate has passed the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in a 26-12 vote.
S38, known as the marriage equality bill, was passed by the Rhode Island House in January, but due to an amendment in the Senate draft, it will return to the House for one final vote.
The bill will then head to the desk of Governor Lincoln Chafee, where he is expected to sign it into law.
The final House vote is expected next week, with the governor to sign soon after. Marriage equality would should then take effect by August 1.
“The freedom to marry is sweeping the nation, as Rhode Island becomes the 10th state in the union with marriage for all, in the same week that France became the 14th nation worldwide with equal marriage rights,” said Cathy Marino-Thomas, Marriage Equality USA Board Co-President. “The momentum from coast-to-coast and around the world is unstoppable.”
Rhode Island will be the final New England state to legalize same-sex marriage, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
“At the same time we celebrate this historic win we are closely watching key states like Delaware and Nevada, in addition to several other nations, as the global movement for equality continues. The timing couldn’t be better, as these historic changes lead up to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases in June,” concluded John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA Legal Director.