Rhode Island first lady Stephanie Chafee has announced she'll officiate over a civil union for a gay couple, the Associated Press reported.

Chafee will officiate over the civil union of Lynn McKinney and Ron Margolin at their November 5 ceremony in Newport.

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.

McKinney and Margolin, who have been together for 32 years, 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. Many gay couples say they'll take a pass on the union and wait for full marriage.

“Rhode Island's civil union law, enacted over the strong protests of the community it was designed to benefit, has been a fiasco,” said the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in a report released last month.

The couple noted that the Chafees are long-time gay rights allies.