Updated: Thursday, 06 Jan 2011, 8:00 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 06 Jan 2011, 7:59 AM EST
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Rhode Island lawmakers are once again getting ready to take up a same-sex marriage debate.
Advocates will re-introduce a bill Thursday that would legalize gay marriage in Rhode Island.
Supporters of the legislation are confident in the chances the bill will pass because it has the backing of Governor Lincoln Chafee.
Former Governor Donald Carcieri was opposed to gay marriage.
State Representative Arthur Handy will sponsor the legislation, which is the same bill he's sponsored the last nine years. It is co-sponsored by House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly gay.
"I think it's a civil right," Handy said, "the right of two people who are in love, committed to enter that legal arrangement."
Handy's bill is not the only one on the issue.
Representative Jon Brien is introducing separate legislation that would allow Rhode Island voters to decide whether gay marriage should be legalized.
"We do have solid evidence that 80 percent of people want to vote on it," Brien said, "and they ought to be given that opportunity."
Rhode Island and Maine are the only New England states that does not allow same-sex marriage.
It was once legal in Maine, but the law was repealed last year.
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