Rhode Island became the 10th U.S. state to embrace marriage equality, following a procedural vote in the House of Representatives and independent governor Lincoln Chafee's signature on the Marriage Equality Act today.
Chafee had a message for LGBT Rhode Islanders in a speech on the steps of the State Capitol in Providence, where he signed the bill: "At long last, you are free to marry the person you love."
"The doors that were knocked on, the conversations that took place, the calls that were made to legislators — this is what pushed us over the line," Chafee said. "When your belief and heart is in something, it's easy work."
The ceremony awaited a procedural House vote that was a foregone conclusion, as the chamber approved an earlier version of the legislation in January, according to the Associated Press. The state Senate approved the bill April 24 by a vote of 26-12. Marriage equality could take effect by August 1, reports AP.