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R.I. cities won’t open early when gay marriage law takes effect

R.I. cities won’t open early when gay marriage law takes effect

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Providence and other Rhode Island communities won’t be issuing marriage licenses early on the morning that it becomes legal for same-sex couples to marry in the state.

In other states where same-sex marriage has become legal, some cities have opened up offices earlier than usual to issue the first licenses and marry couples seeking to wed.

Charles Krupa, AP
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signs a gay marriage bill into law outside the State House in Providence, R.I., Thursday, May 2, 2013.

The Associated Press checked with several Rhode Island cities and gay marriage advocates and was unable to find one that planned to open early on Thursday.

In the state’s largest city, the Providence Department of Vital Statistics will open as usual at 8:30 a.m. Couples may pre-register starting Monday if they want to get their license first thing Thursday, Aug. 1, when the law goes into effect.

Rhode Island became the nation’s 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage in a bill approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee on May 2, bringing to an end a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights to gays and lesbian couples in the heavily Roman Catholic state.

Subsequently, Delaware and Minnesota also approved marriage equality laws, and same-sex marriages resumed in California after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that supporters of a voter approved marriage ban did not have standing to defend the law.

In Minnesota, where gay marriage also becomes legal on Aug. 1, some communities including Minneapolis plan to open offices early.

Delaware’s law took effect July 1, and California resumed performing same-sex unions on June 28.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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