Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee will stand on the steps of the Rhode Island State House later today and sign the Marriage Equality Act into law, thus allowing for legal same-sex marriages in Rhode Island. Chafee, elected as an Independent Governor, was formerly a Republican Senator for the state.
Chafee took the occasion of the signing to write an article for the New York Times. In the article he discussed the magnitude of the moment stating, “A historic realignment is happening all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this is the right thing to do. It is occurring both inside and outside of politics, through conversations at the office and over kitchen tables, and at different speeds in different parts of the country. But once the people have spoken, politics should do its part to make the change efficient and constructive.”
He goes on to highlight a rather unique byproduct of signing the Act into law…economic growth. “Many experts have found evidence of a strong correlation between tolerance and prosperity, particularly in high-tech sectors. One of them, the author Richard Florida, has identified the “three T’s” — talent, technology and tolerance — as the fundamental basis for the growth of new economies.”
He continued, “The point is not simply that we are welcoming to gay people, though we are. It is that we want to welcome everyone. The talented workers who are driving the new economy — young, educated and forward-looking — want to live in a place that reflects their values. They want diversity, not simply out of a sense of justice, but because diversity makes life more fun. Why would any state turn away the people who are most likely to create the economies of the 21st century?”
Last week the state legislation voted to advance the Act for the Governor’s signature by a vote of 26 – 12. The majority of Rhode Island citizens favor marriage equality. Once Governor Chafee signs the Act into law Rhode Island will join the other 5 New England states in allowing for same-sex marriage.
As for what Governor Chafee will be thinking when he stands on the State House steps and signs the Act into law…
“I will be thinking of the Rhode Islanders who have fought for decades simply to be able to marry the person they love. I will be thinking of how Rhode Island is upholding its legacy as a place founded on the principles of tolerance and diversity.”
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