Connecticut activists continue push for DP legislation

BY Advocate.com Editors

May 01 2003 12:00 AM ET

Less than three weeks after Connecticut lawmakers killed a bill extending full marital benefits to same-sex couples, advocates renewed their push for benefits on Tuesday, drawing on the support of hundreds of clergy around the state. The state judiciary committee rejected the bill April 9, but supporters said Tuesday they might back compromise legislation that would provide some of the 588 rights currently afforded to married heterosexual couples.

"We recognize the political realities that if it takes incremental steps, steps that really make a difference in people's lives, we're willing to consider that," said Anne Stanback, president of Love Makes a Family, the coalition working to expand Connecticut's marriage laws to include same-sex couples. She said the group will poll lawmakers this week to gauge support before deciding to introduce a new bill. "If we do, we hope it can contain as many of those 588 rights as the original bill did," she said.

The Connecticut bill was fashioned after California's domestic-partner registry allowing two people who meet several criteria to register as a couple at the secretary of state's office. The California law was crafted incrementally, much like Connecticut's push. Connecticut supporters have won some rights after agreeing to compromise legislation. Last year the general assembly passed a law allowing two people of any gender to legally designate each other to make medical decisions and end-of life choices, such as organ donation and life support, among other benefits. Sen. Andrew McDonald, cochairman of the judiciary committee, said he expects the legislation to resurface as an amendment but added that there is still some support for sending the defeated bill to the full senate or house for a vote.

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