As Rhode Island prepares to become one of the next battlegrounds in the gay marriage debate, Governor Donald Carcieri has announced he and his wife, Sue, have joined the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that opposes gay marriage.

The governor made his announcement this morning at the State House, reports WPRI, a Providence broadcaster.

Carcieri called himself a “traditionalist,” saying a child is better off in a home with a mother and father, and called for a vote on the issue.

“In Massachusetts it was the court. In Vermont it was the legislature. I believe the issue ought to be dealt with by all of our citizens. ... And let them decide,” Carcieri said.

Carcieri's backing comes as NOM prepares to launch a new anti-gay marriage campaign set to run in several states considering legalizing gay marriage, including Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, the nation's smallest state.

In one commercial, somber looking people talk about the issue amid a dark and stormy background.

“There's a storm gathering,” a woman says, followed by another, “And I am afraid.”

“They want to bring the issue into my life,” a man says.

“Freedom will be taken away,” says a woman.

“I'm a Massachusetts parent helplessly watching public schools teach me son that gay marriage is OK,” another woman says.

Kathy Kushner of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, a group that lobbies for gay marriage in the state, told reporters the “tide is absolutely turning” in favor of gay marriage.

In the last five days, the number of states where gay marriage is legal has doubled. On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a gay marriage ban. And yesterday, Vermont narrowly passed a gay marriage bill. Vermont becomes the first state to legislatively approve gay marriage, instead of by court order.

At least one analysis posted at the site concludes Rhode Island voters would reject a gay marriage ban.

Rhode Island is set to begin debate on two bills: one would legalize gay marriage; the other bans it.

Carcieri told reporters that he was not a gay foe, “I am not anti-gay, never have been.”