Same sex marriage passes State Senate - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Same sex marriage passes State Senate

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Rhode Island is set to become the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry following approval by the state Senate by a comfortable margin.

Gay marriage supporters erupted into cheers at the Statehouse on Wednesday following the Senate's 26-12 vote.

The first marriages could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect.

The bill easily passed the House in January but now must get a largely procedural final vote there, likely next week. Gov. Lincoln Chafee supports the legislation.

While all other New England states already allow gay marriage, heavily Catholic Rhode Island has been a hold-out.

An aggressive campaign this year by supporters helped sway lawmakers. The bill's chances also improved when Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed announced she would let it proceed despite her opposition.

Information provided by the Associated Press

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