New Rhode Island governor calls for marriage equality

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"Lincoln Chafee, a Republican turned independent, was sworn in yesterday and took the oath of office on the front steps of the [Rhode Island] Legislature.

"In his inauguration speech, he said: 'When marriage equality is the law in Rhode Island, we honour our forefathers who risked their lives and fortune in the pursuit of human equality.'

"He continued: 'Rhode Island today must be as welcoming to all as [founder] Roger Williams intended it to be.'

"Referring to the freedom to marry and his pledge to repeal anti-immigration policies, he said: 'These two actions will do more for economic growth in our state than any economic development loan.'

"Rhode Island and Maine are the only two New England states which do not honor the marriages of same-sex couples.

"A 2009 poll found that 60 per cent of the Rhode Island public were in favour of allowing gay couples to marry."

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