The Rhode Island Senate has approved a same-sex marriage bill, putting it on track to become the tenth US state to legalise gay marriage.

On Wednesday, 26 senators, including all the Republicans in the Senate, voted in favour and 12 voted against the legislation, after it was passed by the state House in January.

The bill now heads back to the House where is expected to once again be approved in its final vote next week. 

After that, the legislation will be passed on to Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who has vowed to sign the bill into law without delay.

“With the historic passage of the marriage bill in the state Senate today, Rhode Island’s committed and loving gay and lesbian couples are on the cusp of equality,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.

“On the heels of November’s perfect sweep for marriage, our win today reaffirms that momentum is truly on our side. Making today’s victory especially meaningful is the fact that all of the Senate Republicans stood on the right side of history, voting in favour of marriage equality,” said Griffin.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington, as well as in the District of Columbia.

These marriages are, however, not recognised by the US feral government under the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA). The US Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to the constitutionality of DOMA.

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