RHODE ISLAND: Civil Unions Pass Senate
Last night Rhode Island's controversial civil unions bill passed in the state Senate by a vote of 21-16. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who is expected to sign it over the protests of some major LGBT groups.
The legislation, which passed overwhelmingly in the state's lower house on May 19, affords same-sex couples a host of new state tax breaks, health-care benefits and greater ease of inheritance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, is expected to sign the bill into law, according to his spokesman, Michael Trainor. If signed, the law would take effect on July 1, making Rhode Island the fifth state in the country to allow civil unions between same-sex couples.