The Rhode Island Senate approves gay marriage with a vote of 26-12 Wednesday.
Advocates say they expected the measure to pass, though traditional marriage supporters fought against it lobbying Senators all day.
"Culture may change, but God has an immutable character," state Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, said.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence says a religious exemption doesn't protect those who oppose gay marriage because of their faith.
The measure has the governor's support and has already been approved by the state House.
When it's approved in another procedural vote in the Rhode Island House, the state will become the 10th in the nation allowing gays and lesbians to marry.