This promises to be a pivotal week in the long-fought battle for same sex marriage in Rhode Island. The House is expected to tweak the bill approved last week by the state Senate and send it off to Governor Lincoln Chafee for his signature.
Aaron Coutu works not one but two library jobs. But Sunday, his mind was not exclusively on books. Coutu, who with his partner, Ray Daignault, became the first Rhode Island couple to engage in a civil union two years ago, now plan to get married once it becomes legal to do so August 1st.
"It kind of goes back to the idea of separate but equal," Coutu said. "Why do you need two terms if they are the same thing? But the fact that it had to be something else meant that we weren’t the same. It didn’t have the same value. And the people who were opposed to relationships like ours could say you’re not like us."
Coutu said they’ll dispense with a wedding ceremony ... but the reception, that’s another matter.
"We didn’t have a reception the first time," Coutu said, "and we think that we’re really going to have a big reception this time."
Civil unions were a big bust in Rhode Island. According to the state health department, only 85 couples have engaged in them in the nearly two years since them became law.