Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee called on lawmakers to legalize gay marriage in his inauguration speech on Tuesday.

Chafee, a former Republican, was sworn in as the state's first independent governor on the front steps of the Legislature. He took the oath of office as his wife, Stephanie, and three children – Louisa, Caleb and Thea – beamed on.

In his speech, he promised “honest, reliable government,” and reiterated his call for lawmakers to legalize gay marriage.

“When marriage equality is the law in Rhode Island, we honor our forefathers who risked their lives and fortune in the pursuit of human equality.”

“Rhode Island today must be as welcoming to all as [founder] Roger Williams intended it to be. Mark my words, these two actions will do more for economic growth in our state than any economic development loan,” he said, referring to his candidate pledge to repeal anti-immigration policies of his Republican predecessor. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Legislators in Rhode Island have considered a gay marriage bill every year since 1997. Supporters are banking on Chafee to help build momentum in the next legislative session.