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Rhode Island senators to vote on gay marriage; bill easily passed House in January

BY DAVID KLEPPER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- State lawmakers in Rhode Island could decide whether the nation's smallest state becomes the 10th to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Following months of review and debate, the state Senate is set to vote on gay marriage legislation Wednesday afternoon. The bill easily passed the House in January and has the support of independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Gay marriage legislation has been introduced in Rhode Island's General Assembly for nearly two decades only to languish on the legislative agenda. Heavily Catholic Rhode Island is now the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex couples to marry. Gay marriage is law in nine states and the District of Columbia.

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