CONCORD, N.H. (BP)–The number of states with same-sex civil unions laws could grow to at least five if bills that made progress in Illinois and New Hampshire in recent days pass.
A New Hampshire House committee passed a bill March 22 legalizing civil unions by a vote of 15-5. A day earlier, a committee in the Illinois state House passed a civil unions bill, 5-4. It was the first step for both bills, which still must be approved by the entire legislature and signed by the governor.
Civil unions grant all the legal benefits of marriage, minus the name. Pro-family groups say civil unions are another step toward the legitimization of homosexuality, will impact what is taught in schools and are a natural progression toward legalizing full-blown “gay marriage” The sponsor of the Illinois bill seemed to agree with that last point.
“Illinois is ready now for civil unions,” Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press. “The outpouring of public support shows it’s ready for civil unions, and I hope one day it will come around to the concept of same-sex marriage.”
Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey are the only states that recognize civil unions. California has something similar but calls them domestic partnerships. Massachusetts remains the only state where “gay marriage” is legal.
In addition to Illinois and New Hampshire, at least two other states — Oregon and Rhode Island — are giving strong consideration to civil unions bills this year.
The New Hampshire bill would grant homosexual couples the same “rights, obligations and responsibilities” as marriage. Although many supporters of the bill see it as a compromise — former state legislator Raymond Buckley said as much and called it “one of the happiest days of my life,” according to the Concord Monitor — some opponents said they wouldn’t be happy until “gay marriage” is legalized.
“What this [civil unions] bill is, and you can call it whatever you want, is segregation,” Democratic state Rep. Mo Baxley, an open homosexual, said, according to the Monitor. “For the first time in the history of this state, you’re writing a gay law that is just for gay people, because apparently gay people are not quite human enough to be included with heterosexuals. No one has come to me and told me that this is the right thing to do. What I have heard is that this is the politically expedient thing to do, and that makes me terribly sad.”
In fact, every state that has legalized civil unions or domestic partnerships is still debating the legalization of “gay marriage.” In Vermont, a bill that would legalize “gay marriage” is pending in the state legislature. In California and Connecticut, lawsuits that would legalize “gay marriage” are before state high courts. And in New Jersey homosexual activists are pledging not to give up until the legislature allows “marriage” for same-sex couples.
Compiled by Michael Foust.