The president of the Senate,Teresa Paiva-Weed, completely opposed to gay marriage, said she will support the civil unions.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who pushed the marriage equality, said that he would sign a civil unions bill if it passes.
"Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox has made a serious miscalculation. With support for the freedom to marry topping 60 percent—higher than in any other state in the country—and with a strongly supportive governor, the Rhode Island House should send a marriage bill—and nothing less—to the senate now," said Freedom To Marry national campaign director Marc Solomon.
"Couples who are doing the work of marriage in their day-to-day lives, who have made a commitment in life, deserve to have an equal commitment under the law. That legal commitment is called marriage. Freedom to Marry is prepared to join with Speaker Fox, advocates on the ground, and a super-majority of Rhode Islanders to make the strongest case to the senate," he said.
"It would be disappointing if Rhode Island stopped short of full inclusion of its lesbian and gay citizens in 2011, but I recognize that every state needs to find its own path," added Vermont governor Peter Shumlin "I’m quite sure they’ll quickly realize, as we did in Vermont, that civil unions simply aren’t equal."