RI Speaker: Same-sex marriage bill dead

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Rhode Island’s House speaker says legislation extending marriage rights to gay couples is dead for the year.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is gay and is a leading supporter of the gay marriage bill, says that it’s clear the bill won’t overcome opposition in the Senate.

Fox, a Providence Democrat, says he’ll instead sponsor civil union legislation giving same-sex couples the same state rights given to married couples.

The announcement deals a major setback to advocates of gay marriage in the Ocean State. They had called civil unions a poor substitute for full marriage.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed’s opposition was seen as a key obstacle to the bill’s passage. In a statement to reporters, she says she supports civil union legislation and is confident it will pass.

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