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].