Same-sex couple Steven Bridges (L) and Michael Snell exchange rings after filling out a marriage license at the City Hall in Portland, Maine December 29, 2012.  Same-sex couples can start marrying on December 29 in Maine, a state that made history on Elec
Scenes like this coming soon to Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Senate passed a marriage equality bill by a 26 to 12 margin Wednesday afternoon. The bill will have to go back to the state House, which approved a slightly different version earlier in the year by a wide margin. Prior to the Senate vote, House Speaker Gordon Fox predicted that, if it passed the Senate, the bill could be through the House and on the governor's desk "as early as next week." With Gov. Lincoln Chafee in favor of marriage equality, the state Senate vote was the big question mark.

Sen. William Conley, a Democrat who had refused to say how he would vote ahead of time, said Wednesday that:

"Although this issue may appear divisive at this time, I firmly pray, hope, and believe that history will judge marriage equality as an expression of joy, freedom, and liberty that gives all Rhode Islanders an equal opportunity to understand and complete their humanity.''
The law could go into effect August 1, joining every other state in New England as well as Iowa, Maryland, Washington state, and the District of Columbia.

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