A House lawmaker says the state should allow gay couples legally united elsewhere to divorce in Rhode Island.

Rep. Al Gemma said Wednesday that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. But he submitted a bill before the House Judiciary Committee that would allow same-sex couples united elsewhere in the U.S. to divorce in Rhode Island courts.

Rhode Island has not legalized gay unions. Gemma filed his bill after the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled in December that a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts could not get divorced in Rhode Island, where they live.

Gemma says divorce is a civil rights issue and warns that couples who cannot legally separate could be hurt financially.

The committee was not expected to vote on the proposal.