Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on Thursday joined Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee in calling for the Rhode Island General Assembly to approve a gay marriage bill.

The two gay marriage supporters appeared at a news conference at the Rhode Island Statehouse, the AP reported.

Shumlin served as president of the Senate when Vermont first legalized civil unions in 2000 and marriage for gay and lesbian couples in 2009.

“We went halfway, and halfway on civil rights isn't good enough,” Shumlin said about civil unions.

The House and Senate have held hearings on the legislation but they have yet to vote on the legislation.

Shumlin agreed to travel to Rhode Island at the request of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, a group lobbying for passage of the bill.

He told legislative leaders not to worry about political fallout from a vote for gay marriage.

Outside the news conference, opponents, led by the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Marriage, the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, held a prayer vigil attended by about three dozen demonstrators.

The group's executive director, Chris Plante, told the AP that he's hopeful that the bill has stalled out in committee.