PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island's House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed legislation allowing gay couples to enter into civil unions, after a last-ditch effort to revive gay-marriage legislation failed.

The 62-11 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where leaders predict broad support for civil unions.

The proposal would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions granting all of the rights given to married couples. It was introduced as a compromise after legislative leaders said gay-marriage legislation lacked the votes.

State Rep. Frank Ferri is openly gay and said the House endorsement of civil unions was bittersweet.

"Today I'm being asked to choose between equality and rights," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind that families like mine need these rights."