Main | Sunday, July 07, 2013

ARIZONA: Lesbian Couple Files For Civil Union In Small Town Of Bisbee

Back in April the small town of Bisbee, Arizona legalized civil unions for same-sex couples over the loud protests of the state Attorney General.  On Friday a lesbian couple became the first to file.
Kathy Sowden and Deborah Grier went to Bisbee City Hall to file the papers to recognize their 21 year relationship as a formal civil union. The documents spell out how they want to handle some of the privileges that come with marriage like the ability to make medical decisions for each other. Deborah Grier says, "I think it didn't feel a whole lot different but just the knowledge that somebody will actually recognize our union of 21 years." Kathy Sowden says, "It's not marriage 100 percent but it protects us a little more. 1 We've had friends who have had major problems when one of them has been ill." Bisbee's City attorney says because the city wrote the documents like a contract between two people, Bisbee's civil union carries legal weight outside Bisbee and throughout the US.
When Bisbee first made its move, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who was exposed last year as an adulterer (by the FBI, no less), fired off a threatening letter to town leaders. The right wing Center for Arizona Policy also sent Bisbee a letter. Theirs threatens to bankrupt the town in a lawsuit if any couple is granted a civil union.

RELATED: Last year Horne filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court, demanding that Arizona be allowed to repeal domestic partners insurance for state employees. In his suit, Horne claimed that rescinding benefits for gay employees would be good for Arizona tourism because doing so "furthers the State’s interest in promoting marriage."

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