same-sex marriage

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.

RIPR FILE

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. 

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.”

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