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Republicans gut civil unions bill

Republicans gut civil unions bill

Supporters of civil unions in Oregon say the issue isn't dead even after Republicans in the statehouse drastically altered a bill to allow same-sex couples the benefits of marriage. On Thursday house Republicans used what's called a "gut and stuff" maneuver on Senate Bill 1000. The move eliminated language regarding civil unions and replaced it with a reciprocal benefits package, which would allow any two adults to receive just a handful of the rights of marriage.

Rebecca Kassel of Basic Rights Oregon called the action a mean-spirited insult to supporters of civil unions. "They have hijacked SB 1000, and we want it back," she said. "We want the bill that we fought for; we want the bill that's supported by a majority of Oregonians; we want the bill that the governor endorses and the senate passed."

Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski said the decision by the house to amend Senate Bill 1000 was a great disappointment but that the fight to pass the bill isn't over yet. "Now, am I angry that it's not going to get a fair shot? You better believe I am," he said. "Because one, I believe the votes are there even in the Republican caucus. Ultimately, we will be there. This will be the law eventually. It's just unfortunate that we can't do it in a time frame that's fair and right today."

Kulongoski said he expects the version of Senate Bill 1000 that was amended in committee will come to a vote on the house floor and eventually go to a conference committee with the senate. (Sirius/OutQ)

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