Gov. Lincoln Chafee called Rhode Island’s civil unions measure, signed into law on July 2, 2011, “a step forward,” though the Independent governor said that the law did not go far enough in guaranteeing rights to LGBT couples, according to wire service Reuters.
Chafee, a proponent of same-sex marriage, signed the measure into law after the state’s General Assembly failed to move forward on marriage equality in the last legislative session.
Couples joined by a civil union could still face issues getting access to employer provided health insurance coverage, making medical decisions on behalf of their civil union partner or with family memberships at some community centers.
“This extraordinary exemption eviscerates the important rights that enacting a civil union law was meant to guarantee for same sex couples in the first place,” Chafee said, according to Reuters.