"We are in intense competition with Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts," Chafee said. "We are all in the same economy. We have to have the same welcome mat at our door that our neighbors have."
As the state tries to attract tourism and young professionals in high tech companies, Chafee argues that without gay marriage Rhode Island appears intolerant and may lose economic opportunities to neighboring states that all allow same-sex marriage.
Justin Nelson, the president of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, says that "top talent might not want to work in a state where they are not wanted. Rhode Island could "see a brain drain."