PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Same-sex marriages have begun in Rhode Island, and local officials are for the first time issuing marriage licenses to gay couples who wish to marry in the state.

Gay marriage became legal in Rhode Island and Minnesota on Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

Officials around the state began issuing licenses when offices opened at 8:30 a.m., including in Newport.

In Newport, a couple that has been together for 41 years, Federico Santi and John Gacher, arrived first thing at the clerk’s office. They had previously been joined in a civil union, so they were immediately married after getting their license.

Newport City Clerk Kathleen Silvia, calls Thursday “a day of smooching” in Rhode Island.