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USA, Arizona: A Handful of Couples Take Advantage of Bisbee Civil Unions

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Bisbee - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

A month after Bisbee, Arizona finalized its Civil Unions ordinance, only a handful of couples have taken advantage of it. KVOA reports:

When the civil union ordinance passed in Bisbee people expected couples to rush to city hall and register especially after so many heated debates about the ordinance, but so far only four have registered for a civil union two from Bisbee and two couples from out of town. July 5 the Bisbee civil union ordinance went into effect. Bisbee is the first town in Arizona to recognize same-sex couples giving them rights similar to married couples including health care visitation and inheritance.

Keep in mind, however, that Bisbee is a tiny town, and that it’s not marriage. It’s not even, really, civil unions, as it has no support from the state and very few benefits.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

Arizona, USA: Bisbee City Council Gives Final Approval to Revised Civil Unions Ordinance

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Arizona mapAfter wrangling with the Arizona Atty. Gen. over its civil unions ordinance, Bisbee has approved its new version of the civil unions ordinance. reports:

In 30 days, the tiny southern Arizona community of Bisbee will become the first in the state to offer civil unions for same-sex couples. The Bisbee City Council on Tuesday night gave the ordinance final approval, voting 5-2 in favor. “It feels great,” said Councilman Gene Conners, who first proposed the idea earlier this year and has been among its strongest advocates… Bisbee’s revised version still calls the action a “civil union,” but describes it as a contractual agreement. It also omits a line that said couples in a civil union would be recognized as “married” and another calling them “spouses.”

The state has no plans to intervene at this point:

The Attorney General’s Office told the Associated Press that Horne was fine with the revised ordinance and would not legally challenge it. Horne had said he was concerned with language in the original ordinance that appeared to grant couples rights related to inheritance, property ownership, guardianship, insurance and adoption. The state, not cities or counties, has jurisdiction over those areas of law.

Yes, it’s not marriage equality, or even statewide civil unions, but if it gets the ball rolling… and in the meantime, Tucson is considering a similar ordinance.

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Arizona, USA: Will Tucson Follow in Bisbee’s Footsteps on Civil Unions?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Tucson, ArizonaIt looks likely – the city is considering its own civil unions ordinance. KPHO reports:

Tucson is moving toward providing civil-union certificates to couples who cannot marry and allowing them to record contracts defining their relationships. Under a unanimous City Council decision Wednesday night, an ordinance will be prepared for a council vote this summer.

For those not familiar with Arizona politics, the Tucson area is generally much more liberal than Phoenix, its northern counterpart (although the actual city of Phoenix has become progressively more liberal).

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

Arizona, USA: Bisbee Passes Civil Unions Measure Again

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

ArizonaThe city of Bisbee, Arizona, last night passed the revised civil unions ordinance. The Arizona Daily Sun reports:

The council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to formally propose a scaled-back version of the ordinance. That sets the stage for a June 4 vote by the council on whether to approve the measure. Council members on April 2 approved an earlier version of the measure that sought to give people in civil unions the same benefits as those in marriages.

Under the new version, people entered into civil unions recognized only within the city of Bisbee could file contractual statements spelling out their agreed-upon “rights, obligations and expectations” in matters such as inheritances, property ownership and children. Some of those agreements “may require additional documentation and other formalities” to make them effective under state law, the revised ordinance states, adding that “the city of Bisbee makes no warranty or guarantee regarding the legality or enforceability of any agreements or nominations of the parties.”

Well, it’s a start. Other Arizona cities may follow suit.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

Arizona, USA: Bisbee Decides to Water Down Civil Unions Law to Avoid Lawsuit

Friday, April 12th, 2013

ArizonaGay and lesbian couples will have to give up some rights that were to be included in the new civil unions law in Bisbee, Arizona, so the city can avoid a threatened lawsuit. ABC News reports:

The Council voted Thursday night to pull the ordinance so it can be revised to take out items that raised the ire of social conservatives and Attorney General Tom Horne. Those include community property, inheritances, appointment of guardians and disposition of remains after death. “To the extent that we can eliminate that if we tighten the language we’re hoping that we can do that and we can move forward quickly,” Mayor Adriana Badal said Friday.

In a state that refused to ban civil unions, it’s deeply disappointing to see the threats of the state AG working to strip couples of promised rights. I am sickened over what my home state has become.

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Arizona, USA: State Attorney General to Sue Bisbee Over Civil Unions Ordinance; YouTube Testimony Released

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

you tube bigA couple updates on the story of the small Arizona mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, which passed the civil unions bill.

First off, the Arizona AG is making good on his threats to sue the city over the ordinance, even though Arizona voters expressly rejected a ban on civil unions in 2006. The Miami Herald reports:

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne will go to court to block the artists’ community of Bisbee from implementing a newly approved ordinance recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples, his office said Wednesday. Horne’s office will file its planned lawsuit within a week, well before the ordinance approved Tuesday night by the Bisbee City Council takes effect in 30 days, Horne spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

As we said yesterday, the GOP hates civil unions (even without the word marriage) until marriage equality becomes a reality, and then suddenly they’re falling all over themselves to give them to us.

Over at Joe.My.God, there’s a YouTube video with some of the testimony on the ordinance before the city council:

Yesterday I reported that the city council of the small town of Bisbee, Arizona had legalized civil unions over the objections of and a threatened lawsuit from the state Attorney General Tom Horne. Here’s some video from the public comments that preceded that vote.


Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

Arizona, USA: Tiny Town of Bisbee Passes Civil Unions

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

ArizonaThe small southern Arizona town of Bisbee, Arizona just passed a civil unions ordinance. Think Progress reports:

The city council in Bisbee, Arizona voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve civil unions for same-sex couples. Bisbee is a former mining town that has now become an artist’s haven of about 5,600 people. Same-sex couples there will now be able to go to City Hall, pay $76 (the same cost of a marriage license in the outlying county), and receive a civil union. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has said the ordinance would be unconstitutional, promising his office would challenge it in court.

You may remember that Arizona was the first state to reject a gay marriage ban back in 2006, mainly because it also banned civil unions for gays and lesbians. The ban passed without the civil unions language in 2008, which would seem to make Bisbee’s action legal!

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Arizona, USA: Tiny City of Bisbee Approves First Reading of Civil Unions Ordinance

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

ArizonaA small town in southeastern Arizona has given initial approval to a civil unions bill, The Los Angeles Times reports:

Tuesday 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.

Bisbee is a cute artist town about an hour southeast of Tucson, Arizona.

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