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Ore. partnerships bill goes to governor

SALEM, Ore. (BP)–Oregon is just a signature away from becoming the next state to grant homosexual couples all the state legal benefits of marriage.

The Oregon Senate passed a bill May 2 by a vote of 21-9 that would legalize domestic partnerships, which are identical to same-sex civil unions in other states, except for the name. The House previously passed the same bill, and Gov. Ted Kulongoski says he’ll sign it.

But Oregon is not alone in adopting a new law. New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is expected to sign a bill any day that would legalize civil unions in his state. Both Kulongoski and Lynch are Democrats; Democrats also control the legislatures in the two states.

Not counting Oregon and New Hampshire, five states grant same-sex couples all the state legal benefits of marriage. Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey do so with civil unions, California with domestic partnerships and Massachusetts with “gay marriage.” The federal government does not recognize any of the contracts, so couples still are not granted federal legal benefits.

A few other states, such as Hawaii, have laws that grant homosexual couples some, but not all, of the state legal benefits of marriage.

Many politicians view civil unions and domestic partnerships as a compromise on the issue of “gay marriage.” But some politicians in the state say domestic partnerships won’t do. “It is shameful that in the name of equality, we must set up a system of inequality,” Democratic state Sen. Vicki Walker said, according to The Oregonian
Compiled by Michael Foust

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