The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted 62-11 to approve a bill that would establish civil unions for same-sex couples. The bill now heads to the State Senate, where it has the support of Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. "I believe that it is a step forward. There are many couples that need these rights and, today, they know now when they go to the hospital, when they go to a nursing home, their property is protected, they have rights that they didn't have -- as soon as the Senate passes it and the governor signs it," said openly gay state Rep. Frank Ferri. Civil unions create a "second-class citizenship," said Ferri, but he indicated the bill's passage would not end the fight for marriage equality.
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