RI on Way to be 10th State to Allow Gay Marriage

The first marriages could take place on Aug. 1.

Posted: 04/24/2013 05:54 PM EDT

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee testifies in support of same-sex marriage before the House Judiciary Committee. (Photo: AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is set to become the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry following approval by the state Senate by a comfortable margin.

Gay marriage supporters erupted into cheers at the Statehouse on Wednesday following the Senate's 26-12 vote.

The first marriages could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect.

The bill easily passed the House in January but now must get a largely procedural final vote there, likely next week. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) supports the legislation.

While all other New England states already allow gay marriage, heavily Catholic Rhode Island has been a hold-out. An aggressive campaign this year by supporters helped sway lawmakers. The bill's chances also improved when Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed announced she would let it proceed despite her opposition.

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