Marriage License Surcharge May Fund Domestic Violence Programs in RI

By Susan Jones | June 21, 2013 | 11:14 AM EDT

(AP File Photo)

( - Because some couples do not live happily ever after, the cost of a marriage license may go up in Rhode Island.

Under a bill passed this week by the R.I. Senate Judiciary Committee, a surcharge would be tacked on to the current $24 to fund domestic violence prevention programs.

"This act would require that for every marriage license an additional fee of forty-six dollars ($46.00) be charged from which the town or city would retain two dollars ($2.00) and the balance of forty-four dollars ($44.00) would be sent to the general treasurer for the RI coalition against domestic violence to fund domestic violence prevention programs," the bill says.

That would bring the total marriage license application fee to $70 in R.I., the highest in New England.

The full Senate and House must pass the bill before it takes effect.

The Providence Journal, which reported on the fee hike, quoted Deborah DeBare, executive director of the RI Coalition against Domestic Violence, as saying that the $46 increase was less than what it costs a couple to have dinner out and go to a movie -- "not unreasonably burdensome for a one-time fee around a carefully considered life event," she was quoted as telling lawmakers.

For the record, the marriage license application fee is $30 in Connecticut and Maine; $45 in Vermont; between $45 and $60 in New Hampshire; and it varies from town to town in Massachusetts.

Last month, R.I. became the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage.