When most politicians push same-sex marriage, they talk about equal rights. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has a different selling point: competitiveness. The Ocean State’s refusal to allow gay marriage sends a message of intolerance to technology and life-science companies he’d like to attract and puts the state at odds with the younger generation of innovators he wants to retain, Chafee said in an interview. He’s pressing the state Senate to follow the lower chamber, which on Jan. 24 approved a same-sex marriage bill. "We are in intense competition with Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts,” said Chafee, a 59-year-old Republican- turned-independent, ticking off three nearby states where gays can wed. “We are all in the same economy. We have to have the same welcome mat at our door that our neighbors have.” Every New England state except Rhode Island allows gay marriage, as do Iowa, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia. Gay-rights advocates in five others, including New Jersey and Delaware, are pushing similar legislation this year.
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