Civil unions vs. gay marriage in Connecticut

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February 24 2005 12:00 AM ET

A key legislative committee planned to vote Wednesday on whether to support either same-sex marriage or civil unions in Connecticut. Leaders of the legislature's judiciary committee said there is more support in their committee and the full general assembly for a civil unions bill. That would give gay couples many of the same rights as married heterosexuals but would not allow them to get a marriage license.

If a civil unions bill passes, it won't have the support of a major statewide gay rights lobbying organization. Love Makes a Family has made a strategic decision this year to push only for marriage. "We believe civil unions would write second-class citizenship into our law," said Anne Stanback, president of the group. "We feel that would be a step backward for Connecticut." Stanback also said her group has been watching Vermont, which five years ago became the first state to enact civil unions. She said there is now no interest in that state in extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

The organization's plan to oppose civil unions is creating some controversy among advocates. Betty Gallo, a longtime lobbyist for Love Makes a Family, terminated her contract because of a difference of opinion over the organization's strategy. Meanwhile, those who oppose same-sex marriage may attempt to amend legislation on Wednesday to require that Connecticut recognize as marriage only unions
between a man and a woman. (AP)

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