Only 68 gay and lesbian couples obtained licenses for civil unions in Rhode Island since the law took effect last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced the number on Monday, saying it shows that gay couples in the Ocean State are waiting for full marriage.

“A year's worth of data make it abundantly clear that gay and lesbian couples have emphatically said 'I don't!' to the civil union law,” Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island, said in a statement.

The ACLU noted that interest for civil unions has been much higher in similarly populated states, including Hawaii, where 106 licenses were issued in the first month that a civil union law took effect there.

Rhode Island borders three states where gay marriage is legal – Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York – and anticipation was high last year that it would join the ranks of its neighbors. Additionally, Rhode Island recognizes the out-of-state marriages of gay couples.

The state's civil unions law has been criticized for an exemption that allows religious organizations to refuse to recognize such unions.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, a Democrat from Providence, has said he will call a vote next year on a bill which would legalize marriage equality in the state.