You can't marry your same-sex partner in Rhode Island, but as of Monday if you marry him or her in another state, the Ocean State will fully recognize the marriage, The Associated Press reports.
It seems like an odd halfway measure between legalizing gay marriage and banning it, because making people cross the border from the nation's smallest state to tie the knot is really more of a slight inconvenience than anything else. The gay marriage debate has been pretty divisive in Rhode Island, which enacted a bill legalizing civil unions last July, which Gov. Lincoln Chafee called imperfect but a "step forward," according to The AP via the Boston Herald. Chafee signed an executive order at the Rhode Island Statehouse Monday, recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages. AP explains what that means for same-sex couples whose marriages will now be legitimate:
The executive order is expected to have many real-world implications. 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, gay rights advocates say.
Both partners in a same-sex couple will be able to list their names as parents on a child’s birth certificate, and same-sex couples will be entitled to sales tax exemptions on the transfer of property including vehicles.
Since same-sex marriage is legal in every state that borders Rhode Island (that'd be Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York via Long Island Sound), and since the state is just about 40 miles long, that means you could simply go across the border and get married on your lunch break if you were so inclined.