Marriage Equality USA

Stay Informed

Back Home

State of Rhode Island
All in this Region

Current Status

  • Civil marriage equality in effect at the state level since 2011. (Same-sex couples may legally marry.)


  • Rhode Island was the last state in New England to pass marriage equality.

Legislation - Pending


Legislation - Enacted

HB 5015

Author/Sponsor: Rep. Arthur Handy and Sen. Donna Nesselbush
Date Introduced: 3 January 2013
Date Enacted: 1 August 2013


  • The bill legalized marriage for same-sex couples by a vote of 51-19 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate.
HB 6103

Author/Sponsor: Rep. Gordon Fox, Rep. Robert Watson, Rep. Coderre, Rep. Peter John Petrarca, Rep. J. Patrick O’Neill
Date Introduced: 3 May 2011
Date Enacted: 1 July 2011


  • The bill provides same-sex couples the same benefits as provided to married couples. The legislation includes extensive and controversial exemptions that allow any religiously affiliated organization or institution, such as schools, universities and hospitals, to deny recognition of spouses in civil union

Lawsuits - Pending


Lawsuits - Resolved

29 December 2014, State Supreme Court Rules Anti-Gay Firefighters Have No Religious Liberty Claim - By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement. The Ruling.

Chambers v. Ormiston

Case #: No. 2006-240
Date Filed: 11 December 2006
Ruling Date: 7 December 2007


  • In a 3-2 decision, the Rhode Island Supreme Court determined that the state’s Family Court did not have jurisdiction to hear a divorce case of a same-sex couple.

Ballot Initiatives - Pending


Ballot Initiatives - Passed



  • A February 2013 survey conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University on found that 60.4% of Rhode Island voters supported same-sex marriage and 26.1% opposed. Poll details.
  • A January 2013 poll by the Public Policy Polling found 57% of Rhode Island voters supported the legalization of same-sex marriage and 36% opposed. Given other options, 31% preferred civil unions to marriage and 13% opposed all forms of legal recognition for same-sex relationships. Poll details.