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Arizona city approves civil unions for same-sex couples

Civil Unions

By Jacob Combs

Phillip Capper
Bisbee, Arizona

By a 5-2 city council vote, Bisbee, Arizona yesterday became the first municipality in the state to offer civil unions to same-sex couples.

The former mining town is now a city of 5,600 and an artists’ enclave, and with the new ordinance, same-sex couples will be able to obtain a civil union certificate for $76, the same cost as a marriage license.

Arizona was the first state to reject a ban on marriage equality when voters there sank Proposition 107 in 2006.  (Minnesota became the second state to do so last year.)  In 2008, Arizonans approved Proposition 102, which amended the state’s constitution to read that  “only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage.”  That measure made no mention of the civil unions.

Nonetheless, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has said the Bisbee ordinance is unconstitutional and has pledged to go to court to block it.  In a letter sent to the Bisbee City Council on Monday, a conservative Christian group in Phoenix called the Center for Arizona P0licy decried the city’s new law as an “end-run” around the state’s laws on marriage.

For now, according to the AP, Bisbee’s civil unions will only apply within the city’s limits.



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