The Rhode Island state Senate voted late this afternoon in favor of a marriage equality bill putting Rhode Island on course to become the tenth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The full Senate voted 26-12 in favor of the bill, just one day after the Judiciary committee voted 7-4 to advance the measure to the Senate floor.
The Senate also voted 10-28 to defeat a proposed amendment to put the issue to popular vote on the 2014 ballot; that same amendment was rejected by the Judiciary committee on Tuesday.
The Senate had long been seen as the true test for same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, currently the only state in New England without marriage equality.
The bill now returns to the state House for a largely procedural vote on small changes made to the bill on the Senate side. The House previously voted 51-19 in January in favor of the bill.
House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence), who is gay and a supporter of same-sex marriage, said a final vote could come as early as next week.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent and supporter of same-sex marriage, has promised to sign the bill.
The first marriages could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect.
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