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RI Gov. praises ruling on marriage law

June 1, 2012
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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) is applauding a federal court ruling that a law that denies federal benefits to same-sex married couples is unconstitutional.

Chafee says Thursday's ruling by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for states' rights and civil rights. Chafee, an independent, says the federal government shouldn't "dictate" the definition of marriage to states.

The court ruled Thursday that the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples.

The law was passed in 1996. Since then, many states have banned gay marriage while others have approved it.

Chafee supports efforts to authorize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. Last year state lawmakers approved civil unions for same-sex couples after gay marriage legislation faltered.

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