On May 2, 2013 at 6:50 p.m. Rhode Island's Governor Lincoln Chafee signed two bills legalizing same-sex marriage effective August 1, 2013 and allowing same-sex marriage partners who joined in civil unions to change their status to "married."
Rhode Island's Governor signed the bills after they passed the House by a vote of 56 to 15 and succeeded in the Senate by a vote of 26 to 12.
Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin said he was "profoundly disappointed" by the new law. In a statement issued Friday, Roman Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said marriage cannot be redefined because its meaning lies in "our very nature."
"While those making great sacrifices to raise their children in less than ideal circumstances need and deserve our love and support," he said, "we cannot claim to have a just society if we do not look out for the most vulnerable among us - children. That means preserving in the law the principle that every child deserves a mother and father united in marriage."
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is hailing Rhode Island's new law allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The Rhode Island Democrat said Thursday he is "proud of our state for taking this important step toward equality for all."
"I want to particularly congratulate Governor Chafee on a historic legislative victory. His staunch support -- along with the work of House Speaker Gordon Fox and his allies in the legislature and the grassroots efforts of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community -- made this great day possible."
The senator said he is cosponsor of a bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law that allows states that do not recognize same-sex marriage to ignore ceremonies performed in other states.
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