In a move largely seen as a compromise over the rights that can be afforded to gay and lesbian couples, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Saturday signed into law a bill that legalizes civil unions, making his state the fifth in the nation to allow them.
The bill -- which was signed just over a week after New York legalized same-sex marriage -- will take effect later Saturday, according to the governor's spokesman Christian Vareika.
The law will provide same-sex couples with a host of new state tax breaks, health-care benefits and greater ease of inheritance.Though this bill was extremely flawed, and hence why I didn't support it in its current form; the protections that are now afforded to gay and lesbian couples are important. This now brings the tally of states and jurisdictions with either full marriage equality or civil unions to twelve. (CA, WA, OR, and NV have domestic partnerships as well)
Marriage Equality: Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.
Civil Unions: Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, New Jersey, and now Rhode Island.