- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — After amending the state constitution last year to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, Utah legislators are in no hurry to limit the effects that the homosexual “marriage” law could have on other kinds of domestic partnerships.

The Senate overwhelmingly voted yesterday to kill a bill that would have eased restrictions imposed by the homosexual “marriage” measure. The legislation had come under fire from conservative lobby groups in this heavily Republican state.

The homosexual “marriage” amendment was criticized because it was seen as a way to deny hospital visitation or survivor’s property rights to children being brought up by grandparents or to senior citizens who live together but do not marry for financial reasons. Siblings living in the same household also could find themselves without customary rights.

Utah’s Legislature ignored warnings from the state’s Republican attorney general that the amendment went further than needed to ban homosexual “marriage.” State voters ratified it with 66 percent approval in November.

But some of the same lawmakers had been looking at giving back to adults who live together but are ineligible to marry — a category that includes same-sex couples — some of the rights of husband and wife.

“It addresses the need of persons who may have some relationship other than marriage to delegate responsibilities to each other,” said state Sen. Greg Bell, a Republican.

The Senate rejected Mr. Bell’s bill on an 18-10 vote, after Republican lawmakers huddled over lunch with two marriage-law experts who argued that there was nothing wrong with Utah’s constitutional measure against same-sex “marriage.”

Mr. Bell was quick to deny that it has anything to do with homosexual “marriage.”

The measure would have created a state domestic-partner registry that would allow unmarried couples — both same-sex and opposite-sex — to have reciprocal property and health care rights and to bury one another.

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