A Rhode Island House committee on
Tuesday will consider a bill that would allow gay and lesbian couples
to enter into a legal partnership that provides many of the benefits
The proposal, sponsored by Democrat
Peter Petrarca, would allow two people unable to legally marry in the
state to enter into a legal partnership that would extend benefits
associated with insurance, health care decisions, inheritance and
property ownership. The definition would include unmarried siblings.
The measure will be considered in the
House Judiciary Committee, the same panel that previously heard
testimony on a gay marriage bill. A Senate committee has also held a
hearing on the gay marriage bill. But neither the House nor Senate
committee has scheduled a vote on the measure.
Last week, Governor
Lincoln Chafee appeared at a news conference along with visiting
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin to urge the Rhode Island General
Assembly to approve the gay marriage bill.
Opponents of the legislation say
they're reasonably confident the Democrat-controlled Senate won't
approve gay marriage.