R.I. lawmakers debate gay benefits, drop bill

Thursday Jun 4, 2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island lawmaker has abandoned her bill forcing health insurers to provide infertility treatment to unmarried people and gay couples after it ran into opposition.

Rep. Edith Ajello pulled the bill Wednesday ahead of a planned floor vote because she said it was unlikely to survive a veto from Gov. Don Carcieri. The Providence Democrat said she will reintroduce it when Carcieri leaves office in 2011.

Her proposal would have required health insurers in Rhode Island to provide infertility treatment to women up to 45 years old regardless of whether they are married. Under the current law, insurers need only provide that coverage to married women 42 or younger.

Gay marriage opponents in Rhode Island wanted the legislation defeated since it benefited same-sex couples.

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