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Rhode Island committee sends civil union bill to House

Rhode Island's House Judiciary Committee [official website] sent Bill 2011-H6103 [text, PDF] to the House floor [official website] after a 9-3 vote [AP report] in favor of it on Tuesday. The bill was introduced earlier this month [press release] and is modeled after similar laws in Illinois, Delaware and Hawaii [JURIST reports], granting all rights of marriage to same-sex couples. The bill, considered a compromise between gay and anti-gay rights activists, has upset both groups [AP report]. The House is expected to vote [materials] on the bill on Thursday.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] continues to be a controversial and divisive issue through the US, although a recent poll [materials] suggests support for legalization is growing. The Minnesota Senate [official website] earlier this month approved a voter referendum [JURIST report] to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Last month, a Montana judge dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] that had called for the state to provide legal status to same-sex relationships. Also in April, the Indiana Senate [official website] overwhelmingly approved [JURIST report] an amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage or any "substantially similar" status, and the Wyoming Senate [official website] in February approved a bill that would void in Wyoming any same-sex marriages and civil unions [JURIST report] performed in other jurisdictions. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, DC [JURIST reports].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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