UPDATED: Legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Rhode Island got its first 2013 political test on Jan. 22. The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure.
The next step is a vote in the full House, possibly as early as Jan. 24.
A statement from Rhode Islanders United for Marriage said, "Moments ago, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to advance the marriage bill to the House floor. Today marks the first time a marriage bill has advanced past committee in Rhode Island history."
House Speaker Gordon Fox has said he wants the House to vote on the legislation by month’s end.
Advocates for gay marriage like their chances in the House, but concede that the Senate is a tougher challenge.
Nine states and the District of Columbia now allow gay marriage. Rhode Island is the only state in New England without it.
A hearing on the bill last week attracted hundreds of people on both sides of the issue.