Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to sign a marriage equality bill into law today at 5 p.m. at the state capitol, making Minnesota the 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry.
The legislation, approved by the state Senate yesterday, continues an unprecedented momentum toward marriage equality, with Minnesota being the sixth state to approve marriage equality in the past six months and the third to do so in the past two weeks.
Rhode Island’s legislature and governor approved a marriage equality law May 2. Delaware’s legislature and governor did so May 7.
Yesterday, the Rhode Island state senate approved a same-sex marriage bill that will almost certainly see the small, New England state enact marriage equality. The state's House of Representatives had already passed similar legislation and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has promised to sign.
Rhode Island would be the 10th U.S. state to allow such unions to be performed in its jurisdiction.
Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon hailed the victory and thanked local politicos for their efforts in a statement released yesterday:
The Rhode Island House of Representatives today approved a bill that would allow legal marriages between same-sex couples. The vote was 51-19.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent, last week urged his state's legislature to move forward on marriage and to give him a bill to sign. Democrats listened and quickly advanced a marriage equality bill through the House.
“Rhode Island, as you all know, has a legacy of tolerance. It is the ideal upon which we were founded,” Chafee said Jan. 14. “It is time to honor and affirm that legacy by ensuring that same-sex couples can enjoy the same fundamental rights, benefits and privileges as all other citizens of our state.”
The governor of Rhode Island and a group of LGBT-supportive religious and civil rights leaders today announced the launch of a new organization called Rhode Islanders United for Marriage.
Rhode Island is the last New England state to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.
The organization is made up of a coalition of existing groups with the goal of passing marriage equality in the state during 2013.