News (USA)

Rhode Island House committee expected to vote on same-sex marriage today

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Rhode Island is headed to its first test in the General Assembly today.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday afternoon. If the panel passes the measure as expected, it will head to the full House for consideration, possibly as early as Thursday.

House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence), has said he wants the House to vote on the legislation by month’s end.

Advocates for marriage equality say they expect the bill to pass the House, but concede that the Senate is a tougher challenge. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport), an opponent of same-sex marriage, said last week that she remains opposed to the legislation.

Last week, about 300 supporters and opponents signed up to address the legislative committee reviewing the bill, while hundreds more gathered in the hallways outside the hearing.

Nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry. Rhode Island is the only New England state where same-sex marriage has not been approved.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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