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Rhode Island Senate Panel to Consider Marriage Equality Today

Rhode Island's Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a marriage equality bill today.

RiThe Rhode Island House passed the bill in January.

The AP reports:

The entire Senate could take up the bill by week's end if the Senate Judiciary Committee votes in favor of the measure Tuesday. The House passed the bill in January.

Supporters said they are cautiously optimistic that momentum is on their side.

"We're not there yet, but I do believe a majority of senators support granting civil rights to gay people," said Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket. Nesselbush is gay and the lead sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

Also under consideration is a separate bill that would put a marriage equality ballot measure before voters.

TobinBishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence urged the Senate to vote against it in a statement on Monday:

"As the Rhode Island Senate prepares to take action on legislation that would seek to legitimize 'same-sex marriage,' I once again urge members of the Senate to stand strong in resisting this immoral and unnecessary proposition and to defend marriage and family as traditionally defined. We should be very clear about this: it is only with grave risk to our spiritual well-being and the common good of our society that we dare to redefine what God himself has created. My prayer is that the senators will have all the wisdom and courage they need to do the right thing in this moment of decision."

Stay tuned to Towleroad - - follow us on Twitter @TLRD - for updates.

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