Rhode Island First Lady Stephanie Chafee on Saturday officiated over the civil union of gay couple Lynn McKinney and Ron Margolin, The Providence Journal reported.

The men, who met 34 years ago, exchanged vows in front of 250 guests at one of Newport's gilded mansions, the Rasecliff.

“Ron and Lynn, do you enter into this civil union of your own fee will?” Chafee asked the couple, who responded in the affirmative.

The men first asked Governor Lincoln Chafee – a backer of gay marriage who earlier this year took heat for supporting and signing into law the state's civil unions law – but he was unable to attend due to a previous engagement. McKinnney and Margolin are close friends of the Chafees and political supporters of Mr. Chafee.

The state's civil unions law, which took effect during the summer, has been criticized and few couples have signed up for the union.

In comments to Eyewitness News, McKinney said he wanted to thank the governor for his support.

“Part of it was to say thank you to the governor for his long support to the gay and lesbian community,” McKinney said.