Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a law today that welcomes out-of-state gay and lesbian couples to wed in the state.

Massachusetts was the first state in America to allow full marriage equality for gays and lesbians in 2004, but then Governor Mitt Romney (R) cited an obscure 1913 law to prevent Massachusetts from becoming what he called “the Las Vegas of gay marriage.”

The law, repealed today, banned non-residents from marrying in the state if the marriage was not recognized in their home state. The law dates back to a time when states were trying to keep interracial couples from crossing state borders to marry in a state that did not ban it. Thirty States at the time forbade interracial marriage.

Massachusetts' move comes after California opened its door to non-resident gay couples in June. Soon afterwards, New York and Rhode Island announced they would recognize the California marriages, even though neither state offers gay marriage. Massachusetts lawmakers quickly took notice of the economic benefit headed to California. Today's legislation is an attempt to funnel some of those gay dollars their way.

Legislation repealing the law won unanimous approval in the Senate, but ran into a bit of trouble in the House where lawmakers worried about passing the controversial law during an election year. Still, the bill passed by a wide margin: 118 to 35.

Opponents of the repeal cited the legal chaos it would create as gay couples returned to their home states where many marriages would be invalidated.

“The 1913 law is outdated and discriminatory; repealing it is the right thing to do,” Patrick said in a statement Tuesday after the House passed the bill.

Gay groups praised repeal of the law. “Couples across the country have reason to celebrate today, as Governor Patrick and state lawmakers take one giant leap towards opening the door to marriage equality for everyone,” said Steve Ralls, Director of Communications for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in an email to On Top Magazine. “All of us at PFLAG salute those who made repeal of this antiquated statute a reality.”

Repeal of the law took effect immediately with the governor's signature.