Gay marriage laws in Rhode Island takes affect on August 1 as the state becomes the last remaining New England state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. As reported by the Associated Press on July 31, most same-sex couples won’t waste any time in obtaining marriage licenses.
Back on May 2, when Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the gay marriage bill into law, couples have been waiting for Aug. 1. Couples like Federico Santi and John Gacher, who plan to be at Newport City Hall bright and early to complete the paperwork that will turn their civil union into a marriage. Santi told the Associated Press:
“After living together for 41 years, we don’t have anything to prove. It’s like going down and getting a driver’s license.”
The couple will not have an extravagant ceremony because in their hearts they have already been married for a very long time and the marriage license will secure it and have it recognized on a state level and also a federal level.
But as Rhode Island became the 10th state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, the number of couples applying for licenses may not be as large as other states primarily because gay marriage has been legal in all of the surrounding states where couples have gone to have legal weddings. The state will now recognize those marriages as legal in the state of Rhode Island. For this reason, town and city clerks are expecting a pretty calm day and not a lot of gay weddings.
According to Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, many couples may just wait till later to obtain their licenses and some may wait as late as next year.