Gay marriage will take center stage in Rhode Island on Tuesday with the first General Assembly vote on the explosive issue.
If passed, the proposal would allow same-sex marriages as well as recognize same-sex unions previously sealed under the state's existing civil unions law as marriages, the Providence Journal reports
The Ocean State’s lawmakers, a majority of Democrats, are expected to pass the measure.
"At its core, the Marriage Equality Act is a matter of fairness," Gov. Lincoln Chafee said in a letter released at a hearing this week.
"[It would] extend important social recognition and legal protections to all Rhode Island families and children."
In addition, Chafee wrote, the legislation would preserve "the right of religious institutions to determine who they may marry within their faiths."
On Tuesday, a group of 200 protestors who oppose the bill, rallied at the State House. They included representatives from the Catholic Church, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Knights of Columbus.
Also in attendance were members of Latino and Spanish church groups.
Organizers told the Journal that the groups' goal is to "safeguard God's covenant and definition of marriage."
“Marriage has been established and defined by God as a spiritual union between a man and a woman, and it is not to be altered by mankind or its government."
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