Sunday, April 12, 2009

GYC Passes Same Sex Civil Union Bill

Youth congress pass bill to legalize same sex civil unions
By Yvonne S. Lee
Pacific Daily News
April 10, 2009

The 27th Guam Youth Congress has passed a bill to legalize same sex civil unions on Guam. This is the second attempt by Speaker Derick Baza Hills to pass such a measure. A similar bill failed in the 25th Youth Congress by one vote.

As a Democrat, "I must press forward with realizing that every person is created equal, and all men carry the same weight in society," Hills said in a press release yesterday.

He cited recent coverage of same-sex marriage being legalized in Vermont and Iowa by major media outlets in the U.S. mainland, and said it would require action by the courts to "allow for equal rights" across America, according to a press release yesterday.

On April 7, Vermont became the first state to legalize gay marriage through a legislative vote by overriding the governor's veto, according to the Associated Press. It was the fourth state to recognize gay marriage in the United States. The other states are Iowa, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Rhode Island and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages from other states; New Jersey and New Hampshire allow for same sex civil unions. In California and Oregon, statewide laws provide nearly all state-level spousal rights to unmarried couples, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"I don't feel we should initiate same sex marriage... but that doesn't mean we shouldn't allow for equal rights for those with alternative lifestyles," Hills said.

Hills called for the Guam Legislature to introduce legislation to legalize same sex civil unions on island.

"We do have advocates in the Legislature ... I do feel and know that there are senators comfortable supporting this legislation," Hills said.

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