Thank you, Lance, I appreciate this email. Unfortunately I am not going to be voting your way, but I would like to tell you my reasons.
First of all, I do have three close female relatives, all living in California, including my mother and sister, who have been in long term lesbian relationships. My sister even has been married and divorced under California law. She isn't too happy about it now because she had been with her partner for a dozen years or more, then her partner lost her job, so my sister married her in order to get medical benefits for her partner from my sister's employer. Fast forward five years, and my sister got a bit tired of being the only breadwinner, and they got divorced. Unfortunately in California you pay alimony for the same length of time as you were married, so my sister now owes her former partner five years worth of alimony. And since the feds don't recognize same sex marriage, that alimony is not tax deductible as it would normally be.
Because HB 437 restores civil unions, all it is about is the word, "marriage". It is not the legislature's place to determine the meaning of simple words, that is up to the culture. When I went to college in 1975, my grandparents gave me a brand new American Heritage dictionary. It says that marriage is the legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. That certainly wasn't controversial then, so the question is whether our culture has changed enough in the intervening years that we have a new usage. I don't think so. Just a few years ago, we had a ballot question on this subject here in Epsom, and the vote was 2 to 1 or better to retain that definition.
I consider this debate to be an example of political correctness. Political correctness tries to win arguments and control thought by twisting the meaning of words. If "marriage" can be redefined to be two guys, two girls or one of each, then all those relationships are automatically a family, and it is the end of any discussion of what is appropriate in all circumstances. Should two guys adopt children? Be foster parents? Be able to cage health insurance from the employer of one for the other? Should the book "Heather has two mommies" be used in kindergarten? What interest does the state have in what two guys do? Once the word is redefined, then all those kinds of questions can no longer even be discussed because the language itself excludes certain thoughts.
It's getting late, and I hope I've explained my reasoning well enough. I'm sorry it is not more to your liking, but please feel free to write again on this or another subject. One possible bright spot is that if a version of the bill passes, it is likely to be the one that includes a ballot referendum, so we will get a very good idea of what the voters think on this issue.