Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee
promotes gay marriage as an economic engine.
Chafee is expected on Thursday to sign
a bill legalizing such unions in Rhode Island.
Shortly after the House approves final
language on the bill, the independent Chafee will hold a signing
ceremony on the steps of the Rhode Island State House, which
overlooks downtown Providence.
“This is the same spot where, in my
2011 inaugural address, I called for Rhode Island to embrace marriage
equality,” Chafee said in a New
York Times op-ed.
“A historic realignment is happening
all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this
is the right thing to do. 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.”
“Rhode Island is part of a highly
regional economy, with the other New England states and New York in
constant competition with us for innovative companies, and
particularly for the young, open-minded individuals who are close to
the heartbeat of the new digital economy. In our small cluster of
states, it is relatively easy for a company or a person to cross a
border seeking a more favorable climate. And in recent years Rhode
Island has been an outlier among our surrounding states: we are the
only one prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.”
“So tomorrow, when I sign the
Marriage Equality Act into law, I will be thinking of the Rhode
Islanders who have fought for decades simply to be able to marry the
person they love. I will be thinking of how Rhode Island is upholding
its legacy as a place founded on the principles of tolerance and
diversity. But I will also be thinking, as all governors must, about
the economy. With marriage equality becoming law tomorrow night in
Rhode Island, we are sending a clear message that we are open for
business, and that all are welcome. I hope that leaders in capitals
across the country – including Washington – will soon realize
that marriage equality is an issue where doing the right thing and
the smart thing are one and the same.”