Last minute preparations underway for same-sex marriage in RI

by ABC6 News Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

“By the power vested in me,” said the marriage clerk in Maine.

When same sex couples tied the knot in Maine, it only encouraged Rhode Island lawmakers to allow the same here.

Now the hour is near, and last minute preps are underway.

City and town clerks are urging couples to get all their paperwork in order.

“Our basic business this time of year is marriage licenses. We issue numerous every day, with couples coming in. But we will see more same–sex couples coming in,” said Newport City Clerk Kathleen Silvia.

Couples need to bring photo IDs; certified birth certificates; and proof of residency.

Same–sex couples who want to change their civil unions to marriage have to fill–out a special form.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “As with anything new, there's always potential for problems. For example, if someone's been married and divorced before and they want a Rhode Island marriage license, they'll have to bring a copy of their divorce decree.”

Some churches like Channing Memorial in Newport will officiate gay weddings, because some couples want the legal and religious union.

“When I conduct a wedding, the two sort of are joined together. And the religious significance is very important because it says this community of faith embraces you and embraces your love,” said Rev. Jay Deacon of Channing Memorial Church.

And after the church ceremonies in Newport, they're throwing a party on the roof of the historic Hotel Viking hotel.

“We think it's wonderful. We expect to book quite a few additional weddings. We've already booked three same–sex weddings for next year,” said Hotel Viking Sales Manager Marlen Scalzi.

And now a noted travel website calls Newport one of the top–ten new same–sex wedding destinations in the world.