R.I. Votes to Legalize Gay Marriage
PHOTO: A rainbow flag flies below the American flag outside City Hall in San Francisco, Aug. 12, 2010.

The Rhode Island House has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow gay couples to marry.

The House passed the legislation 51-19 Thursday following an emotional debate that touched on religion, civil rights and the nature of marriage.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where supporters and opponents say its fate is difficult to predict.

The vote was personal to Ken Fish, who showed up at the Statehouse early to get a seat in the viewing gallery. The 70-year-old Warwick resident says he and his partner of 25 years have long waited for Rhode Island to pass gay marriage. He called Thursday's vote "history in the making."

Rhode Island is now the only state in New England that doesn't allow same-sex couples to wed.

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