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Arizona Town of Bisbee Plans to Recognize Same-Sex Civil Unions

A southern Arizona town is taking civil union legislation up on its own, the L.A. Times reports:

BisbeeTuesday evening, Bisbee City Council members voted to allow the next best thing to gay marriage. In a first reading of an ordinance, adding a chapter to its city charter, they cleared the way for civil unions. The vote by the seven-member council was unanimous, making it likely to pass on a final vote scheduled in two weeks.

 “I think it’s time,” Mayor Adriana Zavala Badal said of the proposal. “We’ve been working on this as a country for a long time.”

The ordinance, which allows for a form of union regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple, would be effective only within Bisbee and affect certain benefits and policies within the city. Bisbee, situated along the U.S.-Mexico border, has about 5,600 residents.

The civil union certificate would provide city benefits an unwed couple, such as disability or compensation for the partners of city workers and other benefits such as family discounts at the city pool. Currently, partners don’t qualify.

What will the State of Arizona do about the town's actions?

It’s unclear whether state officials will challenge Bisbee’s proposed ordinance if it passes a final vote.

Although the Arizona Constitution defines a marriage between a man and a woman, it doesn’t appear to forbid same-sex civil unions, said Jack Tweedie, director of children and families program at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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  1. Wow, this is great! Bisbee is such a quaint, beautiful town. Good for them!

    Posted by: Lucas | Mar 21, 2013 12:04:57 PM

  2. Hooray Bisbee, one of my favorite places in Arizona. It's a relatively well preserved old mining town and a great place to visit -- beautiful setting, lots of old buildings and street, gay friendly establishments, a now defunct mine you can tour and a progressive oasis.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Mar 21, 2013 1:09:06 PM

  3. Great for Bisbee. I just want to point out that other places in Arizona have had "domestic partnerships", for a while now. I am not sure how different they are... Are they?

    Posted by: Armando | Mar 21, 2013 1:50:26 PM

  4. awesome!

    Posted by: Reality | Mar 22, 2013 7:02:02 AM

  5. I fell in love with Bisbee when I spent two days there in the early 1980's when I toured the South West for the first time. Wonderful town. Now I have another reason to like it.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Mar 24, 2013 7:52:45 PM

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