RI recognizes out of state marriages
On May 14, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) issued an executive order directing state agencies to recognize the marriages of the state’s same-sex couples. In 2011 the legislature passed civil union legislation. According to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, very few Rhode Island same-sex couples have entered into civil unions, but many have been married in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and other states. Rhode Island resident Joey Baldo Lazzerini, was there when Governor Chafee signed the executive order.
As Governor Lincoln Chafee entered the governor’s chambers Monday afternoon, May 14, it was clear how excited everyone . He was about to allow my state, Rhode Island, to legal recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. I was proud to have been there with my mother Natalie and my best friends Armand, Alex and Joel. Same-sex couples in Rhode Island have traveled over border into Massachusetts to marry the person they love, only to return home without legal recognition. For me—as the reigning Mr. Gay Rhode Island representing Rhode Island Pride —this was a very proud moment for the Ocean State. Just two weeks earlier I had attended the nine hour hearing on Marriage Equality and two weeks prior to that I attended a hearing on data collection in terms of hate crimes against transgender folks. To finally have a LGBT victory for our citizens is incredibly worthwhile. For my friends Mike and Brandon who married in Canada, or my friends Sam and Stephen married in New Hampshire, or my friends Rich and Chuck who married in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts—finally their marriages are recognized and they’re officially married couples at home. Thank you, Governor Chafee, and all the organizations and individuals working for full marriage equality. There’s more to be done, but Rhode Island is finally on the map.