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

Rhode Island joined the rest of her New England sister states today in legalizing same-sex marriage:

Rhode Island on Thursday became the nation’s 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, as a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights in this heavily Roman Catholic state ended with the triumphant cheers of hundreds of gays, lesbians, their families and friends.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law on the Statehouse steps Thursday evening following a final 56-15 vote in the House. The first weddings will take place Aug. 1, when the law takes effect.

“I’ve been waiting 32 years for this day, and I never thought it would come in my lifetime,” said Raymond Beausejour, a 66-year-old gay North Providence man who has been with his partner for 32 years. “For the first time in my life, I feel welcome in my own state.”

After Chafee signed the bill, the hundreds of people who gathered on the Statehouse grounds erupted into cheers as a chorus sang “Chapel of Love.”

“Now, at long last, you are free to marry the person that you love,” Chafee told the crowd.

The day was bittersweet for Deborah Tevyaw, whose wife, state corrections officer Pat Baker, succumbed to lung cancer two years ago. Months before she died, Baker, relying on an oxygen tank, angrily told lawmakers it was unfair that Tevyaw wasn’t considered her wife in Rhode Island despite their marriage in Massachusetts.

“I’m ecstatic, but sad she’s not here to see this,” Tevyaw said. “I’m sure she’s watching, but she’s not here next to me. Before she died, she told me, ‘I started this, and now I’m leaving it in your hands.’ We worked hard for this. There were petitions, door knocking, phone calls. I think people decided, ‘just let people be happy.'”

Another small step forward, but a step forward nonetheless.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Awesomesauce.

    Toothpaste ain’t going back in the tube, GOP. Embrace it, or lose the Millennials forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    Toothpaste ain’t going back in the tube, GOP.

    Says who??? There really were WMD in Iraq! Saddam just shipped them to Syria! Guns don’t kill people! People with guns kill people! If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns! If you outlaw bank robbery, only outlaws will rob banks!

    Wait a minute…. That didn’t sound right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. Caj says:

    Good for them. It is going to happen and those fighting against it will be on the wrong side of history. You hear some banging on about their ‘freedoms’, well here we have a persons freedom of choice to choose whom they love or want to marry. Freedoms are not just for those to pick and choose what they regard as freedom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui says:

    Lasciviousness and licentiousness conspired to force same-sex marriage legislation on civil society. Debauchery hails its promulgation.

    Same-sex marriage couples selfishly demand “Marriage Equality”, yet, in return, they offer LESS-THAN-EQUAL protection of the child’s happiness than can be afforded through the presence of both biological parents. In the name of “Marriage Equality”, same-sex marriage leaves the child fully aware that his family is, in all truth, not at all “equal”, natural, nor complete. The use of the term “Marriage Equality” by same-sex marriage proponents selfishly ignores the child’s perspective of “equality”.

    Same-sex marriage couples profess that it is love which gives the right to join the institution of marriage, yet, in doing so, they selfishly violate the principle LOVING objective of this noble institution; to protect a child’s Natural Right to be raised by both biological parents.

    Those who take part in same-sex marriage are well acquainted with the Laws of Nature which they ought to follow, but they see themselves as their own judges leaving their whims and passions left unchecked, and they understand no obligation to contain themselves within the limits of that regard and respect which they owe to civil society, the tranquility of families, and the happiness of children. They deem themselves the arbiter of their own actions, pridefully announcing the right to being the judge themselves, both of Natural and Civil Laws, and of the manner in which they ought to apply them. This independence and excessive liberty must only be productive of disorder and confusion anytime there happens to be a clashing of their interests and passions with civil society.

    Many homosexuals and their supporters today are the vicious oppressors of liberty. They are the malevolent bigots driven by their own prideful prejudices into seeking vengeance; whether it be by slandering anyone with whom they disagree by labeling them a “homophobe”, demanding the criminalization of anyone who refuses them service, mandatory indoctrination of our youth by the State, or the destruction of religious charities and institutions; their agenda violates the very maxims of Natural Law leaving them only the tyranny of legislative oppression as their ONLY justification.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  5. <——–Is this French guy the troll?

    I'm just going to remind everyone that the GOP reaffirmed opposition to gay marriage as an official plank of their platform.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui:

    Awesome parody!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui: tl;dr.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Franklin says:

    Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, but I didn’t hear anything about children (even if that *was* the theme song to “Married … with Children”).

    Also, our new troll must be against adoption as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. matt bernius says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    Toothpaste ain’t going back in the tube, GOP.

    For the record, in RI it was the local GOP that made this happen. Democratic representatives were the stumbling block. To the broader point, that points to the schism that is emerging w/in the national GOP over this issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0