A proposal to grant some marriage benefits to same-sex couples and others who can't legally marry, such as siblings, is winning little support in Rhode Island's debate over legalizing gay marriage.
No supporters showed up Tuesday to a House committee hearing on the measure, which would extend benefits and rights associated with insurance, health care decisions, inheritance and property ownership to so-called "reciprocal beneficiaries."
The legal relationships would be restricted to anyone older than 18 who cannot legally marry their partner. That includes same-sex couples and relatives, such as unmarried siblings who want the right to make medical decisions for each other.
The bill is one of several proposed alternatives to legislation allowing gay marriage. But supporters of gay marriage don't like the reciprocal beneficiary bill because it wouldn't extend full marriage rights.