- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Connecticut lawmakers said yesterday they have enough votes to pass a bill that would make their state the first to create civil unions between same-sex couples without being ordered to do so by courts.

But pro-homosexual groups suffered a defeat yesterday, as voters in Kansas overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and banning same-sex civil unions.

With more than half of precincts reporting, 276,876 votes, or 69 percent, were cast in favor of a constitutional amendment, with 121,836 votes, or 31 percent, opposed.

In Connecticut, the Democrat-controlled Senate is scheduled to vote today on the bill. It will then go to the Democrat-dominated House, where it is also expected to pass.

“Our responsibility as a state is to have laws that ensure the well-being of each of our citizens,” said the Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree, minister for the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ.

But opponents said there is still time to scuttle the bill or amend it with language defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. If the bill passes both chambers, opponents vowed to pressure Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell to veto it.

Mrs. Rell has said she supports the concept of civil unions, but she has not taken a stand on the bill, which extends all rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples but without a marriage license.

“The legislators have not yet heard from the people. They’re not listening,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut. “Connecticut, we’re the ones that are doing something far, far different than the rest of the United States.”

Only Massachusetts recognizes homosexual “marriages,” while Vermont performs civil unions granting same-sex couples all the incidents of marriage that the state can confer.

Kansas law specifies that homosexual “marriages” are not valid, but supporters of that state’s ballot measure said the definition of marriage must be in the Kansas Constitution to insulate it from legal challenge.

“The marriage amendment is an unfortunate, necessary reaction to activist courts,” Republican state Attorney General Phill Kline said.

Among the opponents was Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who said she supported the existing state law and viewed it as sufficient.

“I don’t think we need a constitutional amendment, and particularly a constitutional amendment that goes far beyond the bounds of that law,” she said.

Kansas became the 18th state with state constitutional provisions against homosexual “marriage.” Alabama, South Dakota and Tennessee plan elections next year on constitutional bans, and proposals are pending in 13 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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