Gov. Lincoln Chafee planned to sign the legislation into law Thursday evening. Hundreds are expected to gather at the Statehouse to celebrate the new law, which already passed the House and Senate once. The first weddings could take place Aug. 1, when the new law would take effect. [...]Here's what Gov. Lincoln Chafee wrote in a New York Times op-ed yesterday, in anticipation of the law's passage.
Jenn Steinfeld, one of the co-founders of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, began her relationship with her partner 13 years ago after the two, then acquaintances, saw each other at one of the many legislative hearings on gay marriage. Steinfeld has watched the movement grow from a few people into thousands of volunteers, many of whom are not gay or lesbian.
"When we started, I knew every single person in our database," she said. "Now I go to events and I don't know anybody. I think that's wonderful. Seeing the tide change, seeing people who aren't personally affected support us, it's just been amazing."
So tomorrow, when I sign the Marriage Equality Act into law, I will be thinking of the Rhode Islanders who have fought for decades simply to be able to marry the person they love. I will be thinking of how Rhode Island is upholding its legacy as a place founded on the principles of tolerance and diversity. But I will also be thinking, as all governors must, about the economy. With marriage equality becoming law tomorrow night in Rhode Island, we are sending a clear message that we are open for business, and that all are welcome. I hope that leaders in capitals across the country—including Washington—will soon realize that marriage equality is an issue where doing the right thing and the smart thing are one and the same.That's the message. So thanks, Rhode Island, and congratulations to all the people there who worked so hard for the past two decades to make this happen.