RI Speaker: Gay Marriage Bill Dead at State House

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island's House speaker says legislation extending marriage rights to gay couples is dead for the year.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, an openly gay lawmaker and a leading supporter of the gay marriage bill, says Wednesday that it's clear the bill won't overcome opposition in the Senate.

Fox, a Providence Democrat, says he'll instead sponsor civil union legislation giving same-sex couples the same state rights given to married couples.

The announcement represents a major setback to advocates of gay marriage in the Ocean State, who have said that civil unions are no substitute for full marriage equality.

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READ THE FULL LETTER SPEAKER FOX SENT HERE.