marriage equality


Rhode Island’s gay and lesbian community is weighing in on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of nation-wide same-sex marriage. Many see it as an affirmation of the state’s same-sex marriage law.

Sandra Richard joined the local chapter of the lesbian, gay and transgender advocacy group known as PFLAG back in 2010. Her daughter is transgender and married to a woman. At the time, Rhode Island was still three years away from same-sex marriage. 

Rhode Island lawmakers voted to allow same–sex marriage in 2013, but Richard says the Supreme Court decision is still important.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Discover Newport President and CEO Evan Smith. They discuss the impact same-sex marriage will have on Newport as a wedding and tourist destination and what’s being done to lure this new market.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Danielle Blasczak / RIPR

Rhode Island and Minnesota have become the 12th and 13th  state to legalize same sex marriage. It became legal at 12:01 Thursday morning.  Outside Providence City Hall was a hub of activity as gay couples sought licenses while outside, protesters on both sides of the issue picketed. 

file / RIPR

The Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau said it expects tourism and the wedding industry will get a boost from Rhode Island’s new same-sex marriage law.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau has been marketing to the LGBT community for the last nine years. Kristen Adamo is the vice president for marketing, and she expects same-sex weddings will grow over time.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Across the Ocean State, same-sex couples are applying for marriage licenses and tying the knot. On Thursday Rhode Island and Minnesota became the 12th and 13th states in the country to legalize gay marriage. The bill was signed into law back in May, making Rhode Island the last state in New England to legalize gay marriage.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Same-sex couples are saying “I Do” and applying for marriage licenses across the state. Rhode Island and Minnesota are the 12th and 13th states in the country legalizing gay marriage.

Just minutes after the city clerk’s office opened, employees welcomed Cranston’s first same-sex couple seeking a license. “We opened at 8:30 so you’re our first customer,” said Cranston City Clerk Maria Wall. At 8:32 Karl Staatz and Royce Kilbourn walked into the clerk’s office with hands full of paperwork ready to get a marriage license. After 21 years together, they’re tying the knot next week.

As same-sex marriage becomes legal in Rhode Island Thursday, state Representative Frank Ferri and his longtime partner are among those planning to mark the day by tying the knot.  It took almost 20 years to legalize same-sex marriage in the Ocean State.

Ferri and his partner, Tony Caparco, plan to marry in Warwick this evening with about 300 friends and family members on hand. House Speaker Gordon Fox will perform the ceremony. Ferri, a Warwick Democrat, says the newfound ability of gays and lesbians to marry in Rhode Island will lend special meaning to the nuptials.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Thursday will be a happy day in Rhode Island, now that the state’s same-sex marriage law is in effect. The governor has pushed for bringing same-sex marriage to the state since taking office. He said it will help create jobs.

“I do believe that young, creative people that want to come and do business, you just want to have a welcome mat out. I do believe it’s very, very important to growing the economy in Rhode Island," said Chafee.

Channing Memorial Church in Newport will hold, as they’d call it, a service of celebration for the first day of marriage equality in Rhode Island this Thursday, August 1st.  The event will include music, a brief listing of same-sex couples from the past thru the present and a number of different readings, including passages from the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. 

file / RIPR

The City of Providence started accepting pre-applications for same-sex marriage licenses Monday, but the throngs of people expected failed to materialize.  As of midday only two gay couples had applied, according to city registrar Serena Conley.

“Well this morning we’ve had two couples in. They were here bright and early, 8:30 in the morning, very excited to be here,” said Conley, who adds both couples were male. “They were extremely excited and very, very happy. One couple was actually grinning from ear to ear.”

Kristin Gourlay/RIPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote Tuesday on legislation that could legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The issue has never previously come this far in the state Senate.

The 10-member Judiciary Committee plans to vote on two separate bills. One would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples through the legislature. The other one has broader religious exemptions and would make legalizing same-sex marriage subject to a statewide vote.

Depending on what happens with the two bills, the legislation could move to the Senate floor as soon as Thursday.

Students plan march for marriage equality

Feb 14, 2013

Students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design planned to do something different for Valentine’s Day. In an effort to ensure marriage equality in Rhode Island, students planned a rally on College Hill before a march to the Statehouse, where Representative Frank Ferri was scheduled to speak publicly.

Protest organizer Michelle Bailhe says many groups come together in support of marriage equality.

Catherine Welch

“Just pass it.” That’s what House Speaker Gordon Fox says he wants the senate president to do with the same-sex marriage bill that passed last night and is now heading to the senate. The House vote was not only an historic vote, but an emotional one.

During nearly 90 minutes of debate a handful of representatives spoke out against the measure. Arthur Corvese, a North Providence democrat, was one of them.

Rhode Island is now the only New England state without marriage equality. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this would change if the business community supports marriage equality.

As gay marriage gains momentum from the Pacific northwest to the shores of  Maine, Rhode Island is getting ready for another round of  debate at the State House over marriage equality.

Gay rights advocates have a new arena in which to battle for marriage equality: state ballots.

November‘s general election features same-sex marriage referenda on state ballots in Washington State, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland.

While public opinion on marriage equality has been moving rapidly from con to pro, same-sex marriage has never been approved in the more than 30 state elections in which some incarnation of gay marriage has been up for a vote.