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In Dem-Heavy States, Same-Sex Unions Move To Forefront In Dem-Heavy States, Same-Sex Unions Move To Forefront

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In Dem-Heavy States, Same-Sex Unions Move To Forefront

Slom, who voted against the civil unions law, partially blamed his own party for allowing Democratic philosophy to prevail during the November election. "We didn't establish a clear identity and be able to say why we're opposed to tax increases or why we're opposed to civil unions," said Slom about Republicans, adding that "just because you call it a civil right, I still see it as a civil privilege and to make everyone happy, (we should) get the government out of it all together." Slom and state Senate Democrats all voted to confirm Abercrombie's selection of Judge Sabrina McKenna to the state Supreme Court, making her the first openly-gay person to serve on the state's high court. Slom said he thought of that as a separate issue based on qualifications. In deep-blue states like Maryland and Hawaii, which are basically governed under single-party rule, legislative outcomes favoring same-sex unions were expected. It would also not be much of a shock if Rhode Island and New York eventually pass gay marriage laws during the next two years, even with Republicans controlling the Empire State's upper chamber. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) met with supporters of same-sex unions Wednesday to discuss passing a marriage law. In Rhode Island, the openly-gay speaker of the state House is pushing for a vote to come up soon on the same subject in the lower chamber. The Washington state House also passed a bill March 4 to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. It still has to pass the state Senate. In Wyoming, a legislative proposal to deny recognition of same-sex unions performed out of state failed last week. Meanwhile, even in a more purple state like Colorado, Democrats advocate for same-sex unions instead of avoiding or playing down the issue. All 20 Democratic members of the state Senate have signed on as co-sponsors to a bill that would legalize civil unions. State Sen. Pat Steadman (D), an openly-gay freshman lawmaker from Denver, and state Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D) are carrying the bill. It passed a Senate committee vote Monday and is likely to pass the full Senate on a mostly party-line vote. Steadman told Hotline On Call that the bill "is not identical to marriage, it is not as comprehensive, but it is a very exhaustive list" of rights granted by the states. When asked why he thinks his bill could actually be viable given the GOP's 33-32 majority in the state House, Steadman mentioned that the main hurdle the bill faces is the committee process. He said there is enough support on the floor to pass it, given that state House Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Priola (R) said late last year that he supports civil unions "in concept, precisely because they are not gay marriage." The 11-member House Judiciary committee is likely to be the main legislative battleground and given that Republicans control the majority, it will be the GOP that decides whether it ultimately goes to the floor.

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