New Rhode Island Governor Calls On Lawmakers To Legalize Gay Marriage

January 5, 2011 /LGBT News/ Lincoln Chafee completed his political comeback Tuesday, being sworn in as Rhode Island's first independent governor four years after losing the U.S. Senate seat he held as a Republican.

During his speech, Chafee called for Rhode Island to legalize gay marriage, and asked the General Assembly to quickly consider and pass legislation doing so.

"I would hope that Rhode Island will catch up to her New England neighbors and pass a bill to establish marriage equality. I urge our General Assembly to quickly consider and adopt this legislation. 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," Chafee said.

"Rhode Island today must be as welcoming to all as Roger Williams intended it to be. Mark my words, these two actions [gay marriage and repealing anti-immigration policies] will do more for economic growth in our state that any economic development loan. Because good business is about treating people right", he added.

Such legislation has repeatedly been introduced and died as Carcieri and legislative leaders have opposed it. But this year, with Chafee and Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly gay, in office, there is renewed hope from advocates of gay marriage. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, however, has opposed such legislation in the past.

Watch Lincoln Chafee's inaugurations speech:


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