Even though Rhode Island has not legalized same-sex marriage (civil unions, however, are OK), Republican Governor Lincoln Chafee announced on May 14 that the state will recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere.
According to The Huffington Post, Chafee signed an order directing state agencies to recognize gay and lesbian marriages performed out of state as “legal,” and to afford those couples the same protections as those afforded to heterosexual couples. Ironically, same-sex marriages performed in Rhode Island are not recognized.
In 2007, Attorney General Patrick Lynch issued a legal opinion in favor of the state recognizing out of state marriages. That legal opinion, however, was non-binding. According to a spokesperson for Governor Chafee, this executive order “follows through” on Lynch’s legal opinion.
Even though Chafee said that he will continue to press for same-sex marriages to be legal in RI — calling the move “long overdue” — and despite the fact that President Obama’s support of gay marriage is a step in the right direction, he didn’t believe that gay marriage would pass in the state during this executive season.