A gay marriage bill stuck in committee in the Rhode Island Legislature doesn't enjoy sufficient support to be approved, House Speaker Gordon Fox said on Wednesday.

Fox, who is openly gay and a supporter of the legislation, told the Associated Press that opposition in the Senate is too strong to overcome.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed opposes giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

With less than two months remaining in this year's legislative session, Fox announced he's altering course and will introduce a civil unions bill, a move Weed has said she supports.

The failure to approve gay marriage in the Ocean State comes just weeks after the Maryland House shelved a similar measure and a Colorado House committee killed a civil unions bill. Republicans in three states – North Carolina, Minnesota and Indiana – have introduced legislation to constitutionally ban gay marriage.

But similar ban efforts in New Hampshire and Iowa have been defeated this session. Three states – Delaware, Illinois and Hawaii – have recently adopted civil unions legislation. An effort to legalize gay marriage in New York remains in play.

In the last week, Kathy Kushnir, the executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), decided to step down from her post, and Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, was fired by the group's board.