Rhode Island appears poised to become the nation's 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry after a legislative panel voted Tuesday to forward same-sex marriage legislation to the full House for a final — and largely procedural — vote. The outcome of Thursday's House vote is not in doubt, as the House overwhelmingly passed an earlier version of the bill in January. The Senate passed the bill by a comfortable margin last week, but it had to return to the House because of small changes made in the Senate. "We're one step closer," said Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket and the bill's sponsor in the Senate. "Every step is important and every step is exciting."