Legal gay marriage is closer to
becoming a reality in Rhode Island with Tuesday's election of Lincoln
Chafee as governor.
Chafee, a former U.S. Senator, is the
first independent elected governor of the state, the AP reported.
The former Republican defeated
Democratic General Treasurer Frank Caprio, Republican John Robitaille
and Moderate Party founder Ken Block to succeed anti-gay marriage
Governor Don Carcieri, a Republican.
Chafee, Caprio and Block had been
endorsed by the state's largest gay marriage advocate, Marriage
Equality Rhode Island PAC (MERI PAC). Robitaille has said he opposes
“The impact of this election is
monumental,” Patrick Smock, chair of MERI PAC, said in a statement,
referring to Chafee's win.
But last week, Caprio
lost the group's endorsement after the 44-year-old politician tweeted
to his followers on the subject.
“Gay Marriage: In favor of it going
on the ballot, would sign it into law if it passed the general
Smock chided Caprio in an email to
“Favoring a ballot initiative and
supporting the legislative process are two completely different
positions,” Smock wrote. “Mr. Caprio can't have it both ways.”
Chafee is a strong supporter of gay
Legislators in Rhode Island have
considered a gay marriage bill every year since 1997. Supporters are
banking on a pro-gay marriage governor to help build momentum in the
next legislative session.