Rhode Island Legalizes Civil Unions

Today Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill that legalizes civil unions. The law will provide same-sex couples with a number of new state tax breaks, health-care benefits and easier inheritance rights.

The bill will take effect later Saturday, according to the governor’s spokesman Christian Vareika.

Rhode Island is the fifth in the nation to allow civil unions, joining New Jersey and Illinois, and will be allowed in Delaware and Hawaii beginning January 1, 2012.