RI passes civil union bill

PROVIDENCE, RI – On a 21-to-16 vote, the state Senate yesterday (Wednesday) approved a civil union bill for same-sex couples.

Two liberal senators, Rhoda Perry and Donna Nesselbush, say the bill is discriminatory and they joined the mostly social conservative lawmakers voting against it. Others, including Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, call civil unions a compromise that will confer new rights for same-sex couples.

"I believe the bill is an important first step to providing equal rights for individuals under the laws of the state of Rhode Island," she says.

The House has already approved the civil union bill. Michael Trainor, a spokesman for Governor Lincoln Chafee, says Chafee is inclined to sign the legislation.

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