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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins the Political Roundtable this week to discuss legislative attempts to improve Rhode Island's economy; the search for a new state commissioner of higher education; and why the Senate voted in April to legalize same-sex marriage.

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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

When the Rhode Island Senate made history by approving same-sex marriage legislation in April, more than a few close observers (including me) saw it as a matter -- in part -- of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed preserving her leadership. The thinking was that if same-sex marriage was defeated again (in a battle that started in 1997), SSM supporters would aggressively target legislative opponents at the polls next year.

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.


Same sex marriage becomes the law of the state today Thursday.  City and town clerks are well trained in the new law but don’t have any idea what kind of volume they’ll be dealing with.

State registrar Colleen Fontana has been working overtime instructing city and town clerks in the new law guaranteeing marriage rights to same sex couples. The new forms – giving couples the option of calling themselves ‘bride,’ ‘groom,’ or ‘spouse’ are printed. Now it’s just a waiting game to see how many people show up to apply today.   Fontana said there’s just no way of knowing.

John Bender / RIPR

The General Assembly legalized same-sex marriage this past May, and when Gov. Chafee signed the legislation into law Rhode Island became the twelfth state in the country to do so. 

Today the state will begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

One of those couples planning to get married now that it is legal is Larry Bacon and Dave Burnett who have been together for 36 years.

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.