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Rhode Island first lady to officiate same-sex civil union ceremony

Rhode Island first lady to officiate same-sex civil union ceremony

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Rhode Island’s First Lady Stephanie Chafee, wife of Gov. Lincoln Chafee, has announced that she will perform a same-sex civil union ceremony for two close friends.

Stephanie Chafee

Lynn McKinney and Ron Margolin, a gay couple who have been together 32 years, will take advantage of Rhode Island’s new civil unions law that was signed by the Governor on July 2.

The Narragansett couple had originally asked the governor to oversee their civil union ceremony. But he will be out of the country on November 5th, the date they’ve picked for the ceremony.

“Stephanie said she’d do it and we were delighted,” Margolin said. “She’s been so active in the HIV/AIDS work from the very beginning…she’s been right there all of the time.”

Mrs. Chafee was granted approval by the state’s General Assembly to perform the ceremony — lawmakers routinely authorize people who aren’t judges or members of the clergy to perform marriages, but this is the first time Assembly has approved a civil union ceremony request.

The couple credited the Chafees with being long-time advocates for the gay and lesbian community; Stephanie Chafee was one of the first nurses in Rhode Island to work with AIDS patients, said McKinney.

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