PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- A few hours after Rhode Island became one of two new states to legalize same-sex marriage, the first batch of licenses were issued to couples around the state.
The new law legalizing same-sex marriage went into effect at midnight, though couples had to wait until 8:30 a.m. to secure their licenses at city hall.
On Thursday afternoon Mayor Angel Taveras married a same-sex couple that said being married by Providence's mayor made the day even more special.
"It's very special, it's a personal day for us but its also a great political victory," said spouse Zachary Marcus.
Countless couples waited patiently for that fateful hour, including openly gay Warwick State Rep. Frank Ferri, who said he'll be getting married to his partner of 32 years in a private ceremony Wednesday.
Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, also openly gay, will preside over the ceremony.
Ferri and Fox both pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage for years before the bill was finally signed into law by Gov. Chafee back in early May.
"It's about love," Ferri said. "It's about people making a commitment and wanting to contribute to their community and their state."
Ferri and his partner picked up their license in Warwick Thursady morning.
Pre-registration was open to couples at Providence City Hall starting this past Monday. As of Thursday morning the state's marriage license w orksheet was changed to include boxes for the bride, groom, and spouse of the same gender.
Thursday was especially significant for two of the pre-registered couples that picked up their licenses, in that they both include partners who can now get green cards as a result.
Rhode Island is now the 13th state and the last New England state to pass it into law.
Same-sex couples in Minnesota wasted no time in taking advantage of the new law and began to marry overnight.
A historic day such as this doesn't come without controversy though, as the issue has divided Americans both nationally and locally. The infamous Westboro Baptist Church is planning to hold protests in Providence, Cranston, and Pawtucket.
Eight members of the Topeka, Kan. organization were outside of Providence City Hall when the building opened, though anti-protesters outnumbered them by more than 30.
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