Connecticut, Oregon Study Civil Unions; Traditional-Values Groups Oppose Legislation
Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Connecticut and Oregon appear to be vying to become the second U.S. state to create marriagelike civil unions for homosexual couples.
In Connecticut, the Joint Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill to create civil unions, a legal partnership that carries many state rights of marriage but is not called marriage. It is similar to the nation's first civil union law in Vermont, which went into effect in 2000.
The Connecticut bill still needs to go before the Democrat-led House and Senate, but many observers think it can pass. Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, has indicated "general" support for civil unions, although she has not said whether she will sign this particular bill.
Traditional-values groups, such as the Family Institute of Connecticut and Connecticut Catholic Conference, oppose civil unions as "same-sex marriage in everything but name." Last week, they released a poll showing that most Connecticut residents would like to vote on a constitutional amendment that reserves marriage for opposite-sex couples.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, the watch is on for a pivotal decision by the state Supreme Court.
Last year, Multnomah County officials "married" thousands of same-sex couples, prompting lawsuits. Traditional-values groups reacted with a petition drive for a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, which voters approved in November. …