The Bisbee City Council has unanimously endorsed a measure to approve civil unions in the town. An official vote will be April 2. (Source: City of Bisbee)
Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod says her organization is opposed to the idea. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Gay marriage is a hotly debated issue and arguments on it will be heard at the Supreme Court next week.
But while that's going on, one Arizona city is pushing for marriage equality by approving of civil unions.
If the Bisbee City Council gets its way, gay couples could go to the city clerk and buy a civil union certificate for $25 by May. It would give them some of the rights as straight couples, but some people aren't happy about it.
Some states already allow gay marriage and same-sex civil unions. Bisbee Mayor Adriana Badal said it's time to make it legal here.
"More than anything, it's a statement," she told CBS 5 News.
The City Council unanimously endorsed a measure on Tuesday to allow same-sex couples to enter a civil union. An official council vote will be April 2.
"Equal treatment, if you will. Same-sex partners would receive a civil union certificate in Bisbee," Badal said.
The union would give gay couples some rights that married couples have, such as the decision to bury their partners in the city cemetery, extend family land rights to partners and give family discounts to city services like the public pool.
"This isn't about equal rights. This is about marriage being the foundation of our society, about being between a man and a woman," said Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod.
The state constitution does define marriage between a man and a woman, but Badal said it doesn't say anything about civil unions.
"The intent of civil unions is to give every right that a married couple has, just not the name of marriage. We characterize civil union as being a marriage counterfeit and being against our state public policy," Herrod said.
The City Council vote April 2 will allow public input. Badal said she believes it will pass.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.