Less than a week after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, the Rhode Island State Senate approved a bill allowing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples yesterday. Gay-rights advocates have called the legislation discriminatory because it does not allow for same-sex marriage.
The bill, which already passed in the state’s House of Representatives and which the governor said he will likely sign, would grant gay and lesbian couples most of the rights and benefits that Rhode Island provides married couples. It was offered as a compromise this spring after Gordon D. Fox, the openly gay speaker of the Democratic-controlled House, said he could not muster enough votes to pass a same-sex marriage bill. [NYTimes]