Lincoln Chafee, governor of Rhode Island, signed an order on Monday declaring that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, giving gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones when it comes to health insurance and a slew of other benefits.
Take that, Colorado.
Take that, North Carolina.
Take that, GOP.
The order directs state agencies to recognize marriages performed out of state as legal and treat same-sex married couples the same as heterosexual ones because gay couples, married outside Rhode Island--where civil unions are allowed, but gay marriage is illegal--are not afforded certain rights because state law is not clear on the subject.
Back in 2007, then-Attorney General Patrick Lynch issued an opinion in favor of recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages, but it was nonbinding. Chafee said his signing of the executive order is “following through” on that opinion.
Now, in Rhode Island, same-sex spouses of state employees and anyone covered by an insurance company regulated in Rhode Island will be entitled to health and life insurance benefits; both partners in a same-sex couple will be able to list their names as parents on a child’s birth certificate; same-sex couples will be entitled to sales tax exemptions on the transfer of property including vehicles.
But, it's not about money and exemptions and health insurance, and parenting rights. It’s about equality. It's about having the union of a committed couple, of committed adults, be recognized as equal.
You heard the President say it, and now it's time for everyone to get in line and join the Evolution.