Civil Unions

Gay marriage’s long and messy road: What we misunderstand about this tortured legal saga

Gay marriage’s long and messy road: What we misunderstand about this tortured legal saga

Nearly 10 years ago, on the heels of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage in the state, gay-rights advocates faced a strategic decision. With the Legislature about to consider a constitutional amendment reining in the court’s decision, they could either push legislators to back civil unions as a compromise or face the full wrath of the opposition.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for LGBT-rights group Freedom to Marry, called Los Angeles City Councilman (now mayor) Eric Garcetti to ask for advice. “Fight for love,” Garcetti said. Civil unions were about legal status, about “rights”; marriage was about love. Read more »

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Anti-Gay Stance Still Enshrined In Majority Of State GOP Platforms

 As support for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals grows in the GOP, the official stance of the Republican Party remains rooted in opposition to those rights. The party's national platform, written in 2012, comes out strongly against LGBT equality and even calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

For the most part, the same remains true at the state level. According to a count by The Huffington Post, only seven states plus the District of Columbia have no mention of opposition to same-sex marriage or other rights for LGBT individuals in their party platforms. Fourteen states appear to go by the national platform, leaving 29 other states with their own platforms that oppose gay rights. Read more »

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Sedona considering local ordinance on civil unions

Sedona considering local ordinance on civil unions

SEDONA — Another Arizona community is moving toward recognizing civil unions of couples regardless of gender.

The Sedona City Council voted Wednesday to formally consider an ordinance authorizing civil unions in the red-rock country community in north-central Arizona.

Sedona’s city attorney says a draft proposal being prepared for the City Council’s consideration borrows from local civil-union laws already approved by Bisbee, Jerome and Tucson.

Provisions would include a registration process and a city-maintained list of agreements that couples wish to register.

Mayor Rob Adams says approval of the civil union ordinance would send a message that love is love, “regardless if its two people of the same sex or not.” Read more »

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Op-ed: How LGBT People Can Boost the Economy

Op-ed: How LGBT People Can Boost the Economy

Economist Thomas Sowell once wrote, “Prejudice is free but discrimination is expensive.”  Executives from two competing firms may be equally prejudiced, but the one who discriminates suffers a competitive disadvantage versus the one who does not. A business incurs costs by promoting less talented workers as a means to repel skilled, talented, job candidates. Yet I see businesses and, indeed, entire states, put at a disadvantage by discriminating among people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more »

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Once Again on Taxes, Obama Supports LGBT Rights by Leaving Congress Out of It

Once Again on Taxes, Obama Supports LGBT Rights by Leaving Congress Out of It

Last week’s announcement that married same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes no matter where they live marks just the latest in an astonishing run of LGBT support from the Obama administration. After a miserable start on LGBT rights (does anyone remember the first brief the Justice Department filed in support of DOMA?), President Barack Obama has been a steadfast ally of the gay community. With the single huge exception of the repeal of the embarrassing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, he’s achieved great things by working around the sclerotic Congress, not with it. Read more »

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Bisbee couple becomes first in Arizona to enter into same-sex civil union

Bisbee couple becomes first in Arizona to enter into same-sex civil union

BISBEE, Ariz. — Deborah Grier and Kathy Sowden celebrated an historic day in Bisbee, Ariz., on Friday, becoming the first same-sex couple in Arizona to register in a civil union.

Deborah Grier and Kathy Sowden

Bisbee’s is the first town in Arizona to recognize same-sex relationships by allowing couples to enter into a civil union that gives them rights similar to married couples in the areas of healthcare, visitation and inheritance.

The ordinance, approved by the town council on June 4, came into effect Friday and describes civil unions as a contractual agreement not a marriage between spouses. Read more »

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Tucson City Council approves civil unions

Tucson City Council approves civil unions

Tucson on Tuesday became the second city in the state to legalize civil unions, following Bisbee’s lead.

Tucson has for a decade offered domestic-partner registries, recognizing same-sex couples as spouses in terms of allowing them to visit partners in the hospital and accessing city facilities such as the library or pools.

The City Council unanimously approved renaming the domestic-partnership ordinance the civil-union ordinance and changing references to “domestic partnership” to “civil unions.”

The ordinance also adds language similar to the ordinance Bisbee passed June 5, including allowing couples to file with the city personal legal documents related to topics such as property ownership and child custody. Read more »

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With civil unions, Bisbee, Ariz., joins gay-rights revolt against red states

Until recent weeks, this old mining town tucked in the mountains of southeast Arizona was known as a mecca for artists, retirees, and tourists who linger in eclectic shops, bookstores, and cafés. Now many also regard it as a beacon of hope for gay rights.

In a state with a conservative edge, Bisbee, population 5,600, in early April became the first municipality in Arizona to legalize same-sex civil unions. On Tuesday, after threats by Arizona's attorney general to sue Bisbee for exceeding its powers and interfering in state affairs, town leaders tweaked the ordinance to omit references to "spouses" and "marriage" and to refer to its civil unions only as contractual agreements. Read more »

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Bisbee approves civil unions, again

Bisbee approves civil unions, again

BISBEE — New language for a proposed civil union ordinance didn’t change the outcome of a vote by Bisbee City Council members Tuesday night.

The council voted 5-2 to pass a revised version of an ordinance originally adopted April 23. After Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne warned that his office would file a lawsuit to prevent Bisbee from enacting the ordinance, city attorney John MacKinnon revised the local legislation.

Tuesday night a crowd number about 85 people showed up at the council chambers to again take up debate on civil unions. Read more »

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Rhode Island Poised To Approve Gay Marriage

Rhode Island Poised To Approve Gay Marriage

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island is poised to join nine other states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee planned to sign gay marriage legislation into law Thursday evening, immediately following a final procedural vote in the state's General Assembly. The outcome of the vote is not in doubt.

Hundreds are expected to gather at the Statehouse to celebrate the new law, which has already passed the House and Senate once. The first weddings could take place Aug. 1, when the new law would take effect. Read more »

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