On Thursday, Rhode Island became the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage. In a vote of 56 to 15, the Rhode Island state House approved changes in a bill approved by the state Senate. That evening Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) signed the bill into law. Governor Chafee, who has been pushing for marriage equality since he was elected Governor position in 2010, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why he supported the bill. He said:
“A historic realignment is happening all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this is the right thing to do. It is occurring both inside and outside of politics, through conversations at the office and over kitchen tables, and at different speeds in different parts of the country. But once the people have spoken, politics should do its part to make the change efficient and constructive… I have been heartened in recent months to see members of my old party coming around on marriage equality… That reflects sound political judgment, and some values that are at least as Republican as they are Democratic, including a belief in marriage as an institution and a desire to keep government out of our personal lives.”
Rhode Island’s decision on marriage equality has triggered outrage from some of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archibishop Salvatore Cordileone from San Francisco wrote a statement calling marriage equality a “serious injustice.” He said, “Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman – by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise.” Nine other states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. The Delaware state Senate is scheduled to consider a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in the state on Tuesday.