HRC Blog

What’s Next in Rhode Island?

Editor's note: In June the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, meaning couples in marriage equality states will now receive federal rights and benefits.

Today, equality prevailed, bringing marriage equality to Rhode Island. Here’s what you need to know about marriage equality in the Ocean State, when the law will take effect and the rights married same-sex couples will receive.

How do I obtain a marriage license in Rhode Island?

Once licenses are made available to same-sex couples on August 1st , the procedures will be the same as the existing ones for other married couples.  All the details are available here.

What rights and responsibilities do same-sex couples who legally marry receive in Rhode Island?

Same-sex spouses will receive the same rights and responsibilities provided to different-sex spouses under Rhode Island law, including health care decision-making, property and inheritance rights.  Married same-sex couples do not receive access to the more than 1,100 federal rights and responsibilities based on marriage because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the new law in Rhode Island does not change that.

What do I have to do if I'm a Rhode Island resident who is legally married in another jurisdiction?

You do not have to get married in Rhode Island or otherwise register your marriage in Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s marriage equality law recognizes as valid lawful marriages between same-sex couples from other jurisdictions.

What does the law mean if I have entered into a civil union with my partner in Rhode Island?

Couples in a civil union may either apply for a marriage license and have the marriage solemnized, or may apply to the clerk of the town or city in which their civil union is recoded to have the designation changed to marriage.

 

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