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Rhode Island Becomes 10th State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on May 15, 2013

Lawmakers in Rhode Island have given final approval to a bill making same-sex marriages legal.  As reported by Reuters, the Rhode Island House approved the Senate’s amended same-sex marriage bill on May 2 and the bill was signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, almost immediately after the House vote on Thursday.

Governor Chafee joined Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, Rhode Island’s principal gay rights organization in Providence for a victory party.  Chafee said that he was proud of Rhode Islanders who have been fighting on behalf of freedom, tolerance, and equality for decades.

The new same-sex marriage law will take effect on August 1, 2013, making Rhode Island the tenth state to grant the right to marry to same-sex couples.  The other five New England states have already done so.  The state Senate approved the bill with the entire Republican caucus in support of the measure the past week.

In spite of the victory for marriage equality, some continue to voice opposition.  Providence Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Thomas Tobin said in an open letter addressing the passage of the bill that he encouraged Catholics to carefully examine their consciences before making the decision to endorse and attend same-sex marriages.  He explained that he was deeply disappointed by the passage of the bill.

Legislators in Illinois, Minnesota, and Delaware have been debating same-sex marriage bills this year.  The Delaware bill has passed the lower chamber and is scheduled to be voted on in the upper house in a few days.

The knowledgeable Illinois family law attorneys at Nottage & Ward have been giving advice to couples no matter their living arrangement for more than two decades now.  For many years, Jeffrey Knipmeyer, partner in our firm, has been at the forefront in handling family matters unique to the gay community.  If you have questions concerning family law or if you need help unraveling the complexities of family law matters, please contact us online or call (312) 332-2915.

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