Governor Peter Shumlin will visit Rhode Island at the invitation of supporters of marriage equality to talk about Vermont’s experience as the first state to recognize civil unions and its later transition to allowing marriage for same-sex couples. Shumlin will meet with Governor Lincoln Chafee and with legislative leaders. Vermont was the first state to offer legal recognition to same-sex couples when it passed its civil union law in 2000. In ’09, it became the first state in the country to offer those couples full marriage solely on the Legislature’s say-so and without a court’s involvement. Marriage Equality Rhode Island invited the governor.