Rhode Island: Governor says “pass marriage equality now”

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has issued a statement that he will likely veto any attempt to put same-sex marriage to a public vote.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee told reporters Thursday that lawmakers owe it to voters to decide themselves. The state House of Representatives is expected to vote within weeks on legislation that would allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. But some opponents have voiced support for alternative legislation that would put the question before voters. Same-sex marriage supporters say the issue is one of civil rights and shouldn’t be decided by a vote. Rhode Island is now the only state in New England without same-sex marriage.

Through a White House spokesman, President Obama has endorsed marriage equality in Rhode Island.

“While the President does not weigh in on every measure being considered by the states, he believes all couples should be treated fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” said White House spokesperson Shin Inouye. “As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so.”