Rhode Island Governor Takes Action to Recognize Out of State Same-Sex Marriages

by HRC Staff

Washington– The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization – is today praising Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee for taking action to assure state agencies recognize marriages between gay and lesbian couples performed out of state.

HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement in response to Governor Chafee’s action:

“Governor Chafee is a long-time advocate for marriage equality in the Ocean State, and we applaud his continue leadership on this issue. President Obama delivered a powerful message last week that all couples are entitled to dignity, respect, and protection – both in the eyes of society and under the law. This is a historic step forward for LGBT families in Rhode Island, who will now have access to a range of benefits and protections that they have previously been denied. Governor Chafee is taking definitive action to strengthen Rhode Island families, and we encourage state leaders across the country to follow his lead.”

The Rhode Island Attorney General issued an advisory opinion in 2007 declaring that the state can recognize out-of-jurisdiction marriages. However, the Rhode Island Supreme Court later refused to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts. This led to confusion over how the state treats same-sex couples legally married out of jurisdiction.

Governor Chafee’s action today clears up that confusion and provides a clear directive to the state’s agencies. Under his order, same-sex couples married out of state but residing in Rhode Island will receive the same rights, benefits, and obligations of opposite-sex couples who are married.

Learn more about relationship recognition in states across the country.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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