Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gay marriage legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Rhode Island’s General Assembly, setting the state for another high-profile debate over the contentious issue in the only New England state that doesn’t allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Democratic Rep. Art Handy of Cranston introduced his bill in the House Thursday afternoon. More than 40 members of the 75-member House signed on as co-sponsors.

Moments later, Democratic Sen. Donna Nesselbush of Pawtucket introduced her version of the legislation, which has 11 sponsors in the 38-member Senate.

House Speaker Gordon Fox has called for a gay marriage vote in the House this month. The measure faces a potentially bigger challenge in the Senate, however.

Nesselbush, who is a lesbian, called the introduction of the legislation “history in the making.”