Connecticut Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill
Connecticut’s Senate has passed a bill that would legalize same-sex civil unions. It is expected to pass the House and likely to be signed by Republican Governor Jodi Rell.
The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would make Connecticut the first state, absent court pressure, to recognize civil unions between same-sex couples. Senators voted 27-9 in favor of the legislation, which proponents say will likely clear the House of Representatives, possibly as early as next week. Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has not taken a stand on the bill, but has said she supports the concept of civil unions. “I believe that our most precious and important job is to make sure the rights of all our citizens are protected where they exist and expanded where they don’t exist,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Ann Handley, who is part of a group of legislators who plan to press for gay marriage in Connecticut.
As I’ve written repeatedly, this is the right way for major changes in the social construct to occur. Rather than having it ordered by activist courts, the people’s representatives should be the ones to make these decisions. Within a decade or so, I predict most states will have come around on this one.
The AP has conducted a poll in Connecticut which shows support for civil unions but not gay marriage:
When it comes to same-sex relationships, Connecticut residents back civil unions, but not gay marriage, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. The poll was released the day after the state Senate voted 27-9 in favor of a bill to allow civil unions, which would give gay and lesbian couples many of the same rights as married couples. The poll found 56 percent of registered voters support civil unions, however, when it comes to actual marriage, 53 percent of those polled oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry.
In a breakdown of poll results according to political party affiliation, Democrats back both civil unions and gay marriage, 66 percent and 53 percent respectively. Republicans are narrowly divided on civil unions, 45 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed, but 70 percent oppose gay marriage.
Despite growing support for gay unions, the political trends are mixed:
The vote came a day after Kansas became the 18th state to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Thirteen other states passed such prohibitions last year, while Alabama, South Dakota and Tennessee plan elections next year on constitutional bans.
My guess, though, is that the impetus behind most of these measures is fear that the courts will force gay marriage on the states absent such amendments. It’s understandable that they’re being passed on those grounds but regretable in that they will make it harder for the natural evolution in public opinion on this to become affirmed in the law.