Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee Orders State to Recognize Gay Marriages Performed Elsewhere

Rhode Island's Governor has ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, the AP reports:

ChafeeThe order signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee in a Statehouse ceremony directs state agencies to recognize marriages performed out of state as legal and treat same-sex married couples the same as heterosexual ones.

Some gay couples married outside Rhode Island — where civil unions are allowed, but gay marriage is illegal — have not been afforded certain rights because state law is not clear on the subject.

In 2007, then-Attorney General Patrick Lynch issued an opinion in favor of recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages, but it was nonbinding. Chafee said his signing of the executive order is “following through” on that opinion.

Among the order's implications?

Same-sex spouses of state employees and anyone covered by an insurance company regulated in Rhode Island will be entitled to health and life insurance benefits, gay rights advocates say.

Both partners in a same-sex couple will be able to list their names as parents on a child’s birth certificate, and same-sex couples will be entitled to sales tax exemptions on the transfer of property including vehicles.

Chafee has advocated for marriage equality in the state since his inaugural speech.


  1. What the says

    Since Obama’s (thanks Joe!) “outing”, hope this is the beginning of a new era. Guess this guv’s not named Lincoln for nothing…

  2. Inis says

    As a Rhode Islander, I’m very proud of my governor. The General Assembly, however… not so much.

    The headline should read: Rhode Island recognizes every state’s same-sex marriages except its own.

  3. Rich says

    At least Rhode Islanders don’t have to travel far to get a marriage that their state will recognize.

    This is what the end-game will probably look like: Theocratic states will continue to refuse to perform marriages but will accept them from those states that will perform them.

  4. jonny says

    He used to be a Republican but I think he ran as an independent this time around. We’ve seen this in San Diego, too where one of our mayoral candidates just left the Republican party to run as an independent.

  5. Marcin Rembisz says

    He won election in 1985 as a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention, and went on to serve four years on the Warwick City Council, nearly four two-year terms as Mayor of Warwick, and seven years as United States Senator. After leaving the US Senate, he disaffiliated from the Republican Party and became an independent.

    On November 2nd, 2010, Linc was elected the first independent Governor of our state.

  6. Rob says

    I don’t know Mr. Chafee well, but I first met him in Junior High and have had frequent run-ins with him. In Junior High he suggested I be his body guard considering sans gun I could have taken out his, ha. I don’t agree with everything he says or does (who could?), but I greatly value what he’s done thus far and keeps trying to do. He has never been a fan of religion and government mixing.

    One day soon things are going to get back on track in a lot of different areas, and I believe Governor Chafee is part of the solution.

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