PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Rhode Island passed its first test in the General Assembly.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-0 in favor of the bill Tuesday, the first vote in favor. An unofficial vote count on the House website showed Reps. Charlene Lima and Donna Walsh missed the vote.
The full House of Representatives quickly scheduled a vote on the same-sex marriage bill for Thursday.
"With this afternoon's vote, we are one step closer to the day when gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders can enjoy the same fundamental rights, benefits, and privileges as all other citizens of our state," Gov. Lincoln Chafee said in a statement. He has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
Advocates for same-sex marriage say they expect the bill to pass the House but remain less confident about the Senate.
Nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry. Rhode Island is now the only New England state without gay marriage.
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