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Rhode Island lawmakers to consider civil unions as alternative to gay marriage

Rhode Island lawmakers to consider civil unions as alternative to gay marriage
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Rhode Island lawmakers are considering civil unions as a possible alternative to legalizing same-sex marriage.

A House committee will review legislation on Tuesday that would allow civil unions between any two people over the age of 18 who cannot legally marry their partners. That would include — in addition to gay couples — relatives, the elderly, and unmarried siblings looking to secure legal rights to make medical decisions for each other.

The measure will be considered by the House Judiciary Committee, the same panel that previously heard testimony on a gay marriage bill.

Committees in both the House and Senate have held hearings on legislation to allow gay marriage, but neither chamber has scheduled a vote on the bill.

Last week, Gov. Lincoln Chafee urged the Rhode Island General Assembly to approve the gay marriage bill.

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