Governor affirms recognition of gay marriage
Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed Executive Order 12-02 on May 14, directing all state departments, agencies and offices to recognize the lawful marriages of same-sex couples as valid for any purpose arising in the execution of their duties and to review their operations and take all actions necessa ry to extend respect to these marriages to the fullest extent permitted by law. The governor’s action represents a continuation of current state law and is consistent with the opinion issued by the attorney general in 2007 stating that recognizing the valid marriages of same-sex couples does not violate Rhode Island public policy.
Chafee was joined at the State House signing ceremony by a number of Rhode Islanders who have experienced difficulty in performing routine business with the state.
“Despite long-standing Rhode Island law respecting out-of-state marriages, and a formal 2007 opinion from the attorney general, there remains confusion and inconsistency within state departments and agencies regarding the recognition of out-of-state samesex marriages,” Chafee said. “Far too many Rhode Island couples have encountered problems with the state failing to consistently recognize the validity of their marriage, causing unnecessary diffi- culty, anxiety and expense.”