Fastforward to yesterday. Rhode Island's governor, Lincoln Chafee, signed an executive order directing state agencies to recognize marriages performed out of state as legal relationship and to treat married gays as they treat married straight couples:
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.This of course takes even more bite out of the state's civil union law. I don't know many people who would settle for marriage-lite when they can just as easily skip the border and claim marriage itself!
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...
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.