Rhode Island’s Civil Unions Fail To Appease Same-Sex Couples | It has been over a year since civil unions became law in Rhode Island, but in that time, only 68 same-sex couples actually obtained a license. Compare this to Delaware, a state with a smaller population, where 85 civil union licenses were issued in just the first month they were available. In May, Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) issued an executive order recognizing marriages in other states, recognizing the fact that all of Rhode Island’s neighboring states already offer the freedom to marry. State House Speaker Gordon Fox (D) has promised the legislature will vote on marriage equality next year, but in the meantime, the state will continue missing out on a significant source of income.