Less than a week after New York approved gay marriage, Rhode Island's senate approved a bill Wednesday allowing same-sex couples to enter civil unions. Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he is inclined to sign the bill. The bill, which was passed in the house chamber this week, will allow gay couples the same rights and benefits given to married couples under Rhode Island law. But several same-sex marriage groups are urging Chafee to veto the bill because it allows religious institutions to ignore rights given through civil unions. Thirty-nine states have banned same-sex marriage outright.
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