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It's done. The Rhode Island House voted 56-15 earlier this afternoon, passing the Senate's version of a marriage equality bill whose origins go back to 1997. Just moments ago Rhode Island's Governor Lincon Chafee signed the legislation into law (it will not take effect until August 1st).

RI United @RIUnited
Gov. Chafee to #LGBT RIers: "I am proud to say that now at long last, you are free to marry the person you love!" #RI4M
RI United ‏@RIUnited 2m
The bill is signed and it's official: Rhode Island is the 10th state to win marriage equality! #RI4M pic.twitter.com/0w20kaspO5

 photo RI-signing_zps8d431769.jpg
Signing ceremony crowd.

Rhode Island becomes the 10th state and 11th jurisdiction within the United States to have legalized same-sex marriage. Many thought the 10th state to do so would be Illinois, but now it looks like Illinois may not even be the 11th - Delaware is poised to be the next state with legislation scheduled to voted on in the Senate this coming Tuesday.

Here's a bit of how the campaign came down:

The strategy that ultimately proved successful began two years ago after the previous significant effort to pass gay marriage fell apart...

Rather than court one-issue candidates, marriage advocates formed ties with the AFL-CIO, environmental activists and other progressive groups. By teaming up, the coalition was able to pool their support for candidates with wider voter appeal - and who also happened to support gay marriage. The strategy worked, and in November several new gay marriage supporters were elected to the House and, more significantly, the state Senate...

Though she opposes gay marriage, and ultimately voted against it, ((Senate Majority Leader)) Paiva Weed gave supporters a break when she announced that she would allow the issue to proceed through the Senate without her interference...

So many people signed on to help that Rhode Islanders United for Marriage had to relocate to bigger offices. Sullivan said his group made more than 12,000 phone calls, knocked on 25,000 doors and mailed nearly 2,000 letters to lawmakers.

What does Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, have to say about this nasty defeat in Rhode Island?
"I don't know that I would say Rhode Island is a trend..."

Brown blasted "cultural elites" for demonizing supporters of traditional marriage and warned Republican officeholders of the perils of supporting same-sex marriage proposals...

He blamed Hollywood, academia and the mainstream media for advocating gay marriage and demonizing its opponents.

Hats off to Hollywood then, I say. And WTG, Rhode Island.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, Milk Men And Women, and Angry Gays.

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