'The Connecticut Legislature should protect all families without qualifications or caveats,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign commended the Connecticut Legislature for passing a civil union bill tonight but called on the conference committee to pass a final bill free of discriminatory amendments. The bill, passed by an 85-63 vote in the House, was amended today to deny marriage to same-sex couples.
"The Connecticut Legislature should protect all families without qualifications or caveats," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Civil unions are a significant step forward in the fight to end discrimination in our family laws but the conference committee should send the bill back for final passage free of discriminatory amendments."
The measure, which will offer all the state-level rights and benefits of marriage to the state's same-sex couples and their families, passed the Senate on April 6, 2005, with six of the 12 Republican senators voting for the measure. An amendment defining marriage to exclude same-sex couples was rejected by the Senate. The measure now heads to a conference committee where differences between the House and Senate versions will be reconciled. Republican Gov. Jodi Rell has indicated that she supports civil unions "in concept."
In urging his colleagues to support the bill, Democratic Rep. Mike Lawlor, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, said that consensus was possible on the civil union bill while acknowledging that "some feel as I do that we should have same-sex marriage."
On April 7, 2005, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing that 56 percent of Connecticut voters support civil unions and 46 percent support marriage for same-sex couples.
"There is absolutely no reason to cut short a discussion on marriage equality," added Solmonese. "This amendment is the wrong for same-sex couples and it's wrong for Connecticut."
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