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Apr 3, 2013 6:12 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Bisbee passes civil union ordinance

BISBEE - The Bisbee city council passed an ordinance to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples.

It will allow these couples the same rights as married couples but only within the Bisbee city limits.

At times, passion ran high. There were a few outbursts, but overall the audience was respectful of each other.

It was a packed meeting, full of emotion. One by one, community members for and against the ordinance voiced their opinion.

"I am very disgusted that the council for allowing, or even thinking about adopting an ordinance for civil unions," said an opponent.

Another said, "my husband was brave enough to call this ordinance exactly what it is, and it's an abomination."

A supporter of the ordinance told the council, "we're not asking for people to get involved in being gay, being a lesbian, being transgender, being bisexual we're not asking for that. We're just asking for us to have a few civil rights."

Councilman Gene Conners was the driving force for the ordinance.

"It's about civil rights, it's not one man one woman, it's a civil rights issue. And that was my reasoning for bringing it forward," said Conners.

After a three and a half-hour public hearing and discussion, the ordinance passed.

For Melissa Reaves and Jennifer Garland, together 13 years, a civil union means equality.

"I think it was the right thing to do, I think it's been time, and yes a little bit of validation," said Reaves.

Garland says, "I'm elated, this has been a long night, it was hard to listen to a lot of the things we had to listen to, but love prevails and that's all that matters."

The ordinance passed by a vote of five to two.

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