Rhode Island House to Vote on Gay Marriage

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - - Rhode Island lawmakers are set to consider legislation to allow lesbian and gay couples to wed in the only New England state that prohibits same-sex marriage.

The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on the bill this evening.

Supporters and opponents of the legislation expect it to pass, but acknowledge that the Senate is harder to predict.

The bill will have a high-profile supporter in House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is gay. The Providence Democrat dropped gay marriage legislation two years ago when he concluded it would not pass the Senate. Lawmakers instead passed civil unions for gay couples.

Gay marriage legislation has been introduced in Rhode Island for 15 years, but Thursday marks the first time the issue will receive a vote in either the House or Senate.