MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dozens of couples prepared for midnight weddings as two more U.S. states on Thursday welcome gay marriage.

Rhode Island joins Minnesota on Thursday in becoming the 12th and 13th states to allow same-sex marriage, along with the District of Columbia.

The national gay rights group Freedom to Marry estimates that about 30 percent of the U.S. population now lives in places where gay marriage is legal.

"It feels historic. It's an honor to be a part of it," said Tim Roberts, a court administrator in Minnesota who planned to perform a 12:01 a.m. wedding.

In Minnesota, budget officials estimated that about 5,000 gay couples would marry in the first year.

Rhode Island becomes the last New England state to allow same-sex marriage. Lawmakers in the heavily Catholic state passed the marriage law this spring, after more than 16 years of efforts by same-sex marriage supporters.

Both Minnesota and Rhode Island will automatically recognize marriages performed in other states.

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Associated Press writer David Klepper contributed to this report from Providence, Rhode Island.