Big news today in Rhode Island!
Under the order of Governor Lincoln Chafee, same-sex couples married out of state but residing in Rhode Island will now receive the same rights, benefits, and obligations of heterosexual married couples.
More after the jump!
There's been long-standing confusion regarding the state's stance on the recognition of same-sex marriages.
In 2007 the Rhode Island Attorney General issued an advisory opinion declaring that the state can recognize out-of-jurisdiction marriages. Later, the Rhode Island Supreme Court refused to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts. These opposing moves led to conflict over how the state treats same-sex couples legally married out of the state's jurisdiction.
Governor Chafee’s action today clears up that confusion and provides a clear directive to the state’s agencies.
The Human Rights Campaign praised the Governor's actions in a statement from HRC President Joe Solmonese:
“Governor Chafee is a long-time advocate for marriage equality in the Ocean State, and we applaud his continue leadership on this issue. President Obama delivered a powerful message last week that all couples are entitled to dignity, respect, and protection – both in the eyes of society and under the law. This is a historic step forward for LGBT families in Rhode Island, who will now have access to a range of benefits and protections that they have previously been denied. Governor Chafee is taking definitive action to strengthen Rhode Island families, and we encourage state leaders across the country to follow his lead.”
This is a big step in the right direction for Rhode Islanders, especially considering that there are neighboring states where they can get married and now have that marriage recognized at home.
Nice work, Gov. Chafee. Let's keep moving forward!