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US: Arizona City Council pauses civil partnership bill after lawsuit threatened over same-sex marriage ban

Joseph McCormick April 13, 2013
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A southern Arizona City Council has been threatened with a lawsuit by the state Attorney General’s office for passing legislation to allow civil unions for same-sex couples, and has put the legislation on hold to tweak it in order for it to fit with the state’s ban on equal marriage.

The council of Bisbee, a former mining town now populated by a large number of artists and retirees, voted 5-2 earlier in April to pass legislation allowing civil unions between couples of any gender.

The Mayor of Bisbee, Adriana Badal had said that, on Thursday evening, the council voted to pull the ordinance in order to revise sections, and items which went against the ban, as flagged by Attorney general Tom Horne.

He raised concerns about provisions for community property, inheritances, appointment of guardians and disposal of remains after death, which he said went against the 2008 voter-approved ban, reports the Associated Press.

A spokesperson for Horne said on Friday that the proposed lawsuit was unlikely to go ahead, as long as the changes were made.

When the legislation was being considered, Tom Horne, wrote to the council before they voted, telling them they had “no authority” to legalise same-sex unions.

Once Horne is satisfied, and if no further legal challenge is submitted civil unions should be able to take place in Bisbee from May this year, but they would only be recognised within city limits

Last month the US Supreme Court heard two major cases related to equal marriage, one challenging a California ban and the other challenging a federal law restricting tax and other marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples only. The court is expected to issue rulings in June.

The state of Delaware could be the tenth state in the US to allow same-sex marriage as it became the latest to introduce legislation to legalise equal marriage.

Delaware was the eighth state to give same-sex couples the right to civil unions, and Governor Markell signed the legislation into law in 2011.  

A Senate committee in the US state of Nevada also this week voted in favour of a bill which could, if voters approved, make a constitutional amendment to allow equal marriage.




Related topics: Americas, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, US, wedding

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