Rhode Island

Rhode Island legal documents designed to protect your family no matter your relationship status

Rhode Island

rhode_islandRhode Island

Rainbow Law has a document package designed to protect same-sex partners in Rhode Island. We offer 9 unique Affordable Document Packages, Individual Legal Documents and FREE Advance Directives to help protect your rights and the rights of your family. To order a legal document package that complies with Rhode Island law, hover your mouse over the “Buy A Package” link in the top menu and click on the package that best suits your needs in the drop-down list. If you’re not sure what package is right for you, click this link and we’ll help you figure out what you need.

Rhode Island recognizes the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. And because the US Supreme Court overturned parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government also recognizes LGBT marriages. This means same-sex married couples living in Rhode Island are eligible for all rights and benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples.

Rhode Island same-sex partners and family members might continue to experience some discrimination – like snubbing by your family of origin or by complete strangers in a social setting. These insults can’t be dealt with legally; they require a set of adaptive behaviors, including education, humor, and a thick skin.

Here is a run-down on Rhode Island law affecting the LGBTQ community:

1 Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: Rhode Island has granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples since August 1, 2013. On February 20, 2007, Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch issued an opinion holding that same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts would be recognized in Rhode Island. He said that “his interpretation permitted recognition of the marriages, although he acknowledged that it was just an opinion and did not have the force of law.” On May 14, 2012, Gov. Chafee issued an executive ordering directing state agencies to treat same-sex marriages performed out-of-state as the equivalent of marriage. On September 21, 2012, the state’s Division of Taxation, ruling in an estate tax case, announced it would treat couples in same-sex marriages or civil unions established in other jurisdictions as legally married, basing its decision on the state’s civil unions law and the state’s tradition of recognizing marriages validly performed elsewhere.

Legislation establishing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island was enacted in May 2013, effective August 1. Beginning on August 1, two persons who are parties to a civil union entered into before that date may convert their union into a marriage.

To date, sixteen states – CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT, and WA – plus Washington, D.C. have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

2 Adoption Law: The Rhode Island Family Court routinely grants same sex couple adoptions and has been doing so since at least 1995. Couples need not reside in Rhode Island and may be adopting their own birth child, using a surrogate, or adopting a child already placed with them. A decree lists both partners as parents. After the adoption, the Rhode Island Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics will amend the birth certificate of a child born in Rhode Island to name both partners as parents. A birth certificate issued in Rhode Island carries the names of both parents, including same-sex parents.

3 Anti-Discrimination Law:Rhode Island law outlaws discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, credit, housing and public accommodations. Rhode Island has a criminal statute covering acts of violence motivated by both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

4 Sodomy Law: Sexual acts between consenting adults in private have been legal in Rhode Island since anti-sodomy statutes were repealed in 1998.

5Gender Identity: Rhode Island permits post-operative transsexuals to amend their sex on their birth certificates.
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