Rhode Island To Recognize Same-sex Marriages From Out Of State
|Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, (I) Rhode Island|
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee Monday issued an executive order that directs state agencies to recognize marriages performed out of state as legal and treat same-sex married couples the same as heterosexual ones.
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.
The executive order is expected to have many real-world 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.
Chafee signed the order in a ceremony before an audience gathered in the Rhode Island Statehouse, that included many same-sex married couples who enthusiastically cheered when the governor appeared.
One person described the disappointment that she and her wife felt when they weren't able to list both their names on their son's birth certificate telling The Associated Press before the ceremony, "I was devastated," Martha Holt Castle said, talking about the birth of her son when her wife Patricia was prevented from also being listed as a parent. "For our next child, we won't have to go through the same kind of turmoil," she said. She and her wife were married in neighboring Massachusetts.