Rhode Island Is About to Become the Tenth State to Legalize Gay Marriage

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21:  The rainbow flag symbolizing gay pride flies from a pole in Manhattan on June 21, 2011 in New York City. The New York Senate has yet to come to a resolution on the issue of same sex marriage.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Photo: Mario Tama/2011 Getty Images

Rhode Island's state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that leaves the state only a few steps away from legalizing gay marriage. Next the House must approve amendments to the bill, which it already passed, and then it goes to Governor Lincoln Chafee, who told the Associated Press, "I'm very much looking forward to signing this." The measure passed the Senate 26-12, and surprisingly the "no" votes came from eleven Democrats and one independent. The Senate's five Republicans announced they would support the bill earlier this week, saying it goes along with their party's beliefs. "This is an issue of fairness, equality and civil rights," said Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere. "Those are our values, and we stand by them." If all goes as expected, gay Rhode Island couples will be allowed to marry on August 1, and gay marriage will be legal in all of New England, as well as New York, Iowa, Maryland, and Washington.