Update at 7:08 p.m. ET. Governor Signs The Bill:
"We are making history," Gov. Lincoln Chafee said right before he signed a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. "We are living up to the ideal of our founders."
With that, the state became the 10th to allow marriages between same-sex couples. The Providence Journal reports that the signing "drew cheers from hundreds who gathered at the south side of the State House."
Our Original Post Continues:
The Rhode Island House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that will allow same-sex marriage in the state.
The bill is expected to be signed into law later today by Gov. Lincoln Chafee. WPRI reports:
" 'Today a dream has come true,' state Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick, who is openly gay, said to a standing ovation. 'This moment is surreal. For us in Rhode Island, we have achieved an understanding about the human condition - that we all are one family and need to look out for each other.'
"The House voted 56-15 to give final approval to the bill after a respectful and at times emotional discussion on Thursday afternoon. The result - seen as a foregone conclusion after the bill cleared the Rhode Island Senate last week on a 26-12 vote - was met with huge applause. Those gathered then sang 'My Country 'Tis of Thee.'"
Chafee wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday in which he explained why he would sign the bill into law.
"A historic realignment is happening all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this is the right thing to do," Chafee wrote. "It is occurring both inside and outside of politics, through conversations at the office and over kitchen tables, and at different speeds in different parts of the country. But once the people have spoken, politics should do its part to make the change efficient and constructive."
Once the bill becomes law, Rhode Island will join nine other states that allow same-sex marriages.