Rhode Island was set to become the tenth state in the nation, and the last in New England, to legalize same-sex marriage Thursday as final legislation cleared procedural hurdles in the state legislature.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, has pledged to sign the bill immediately following its final passage. Last week both the Rhode Island House and Senate approved by large margins measures allowing same-sex couples to wed, but more votes were required after the legislation was tweaked. The law would go into effect August 1.
Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Their combined populations, based on U.S. Census estimates for 2012, represent 15.8% of the U.S. population.