PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island lawmakers plan to hold hearings on a bill creating civil unions for gay couples next week.
The House of Representatives announced Friday that it will hold hearings Wednesday.
The bill would give gay couples who form a civil union the same state rights given to married couples in Rhode Island.
Civil unions were pitched as a compromise after legislative leaders said a gay marriage bill lacked the votes to pass. Rep. Peter Petrarca, a Lincoln Democrat, is the bill’s sponsor. Petrarca says that while he supports gay marriage, civil unions represent a step forward. Some gay marriage advocates, however, vow to oppose any proposal that falls short of full marriage.
Hearings on the gay marriage bill attracted hundreds of Rhode Islanders on both sides of the issue.

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