May 19, 2011(Key vote)
Title: Authorizes Civil Unions
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that establishes a legal proceeding for same sex individuals to enter into a civil union beginning July 1, 2011.
Authorizes two persons to enter into a civil union only if both parties meet the following criteria (Sec. 1):
Are at least 18 years of age;
Are of the same sex;
Are not a party to another civil union or lawfully married to another person; and
Neither person is "mentally incompetent" at the time of the civil union.
Defines a "civil union" as a union between two same sex individuals (Sec. 1).
Defines a "party to a civil union" as a person who has entered into a civil union pursuant to this act (Sec. 1).
Establishes that a party to a civil union shall have the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law, as married couples (Sec. 1).
Exempts religious or denominational organizations from being required to administer any of the following, if such actions violate their religious beliefs (Sec. 1):
Provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the certification or celebration of any civil union;
To solemnize or certify any civil union; or
To treat a civil union as valid.
NOTE: THIS IS A SUBSTITUTE BILL, MEANING THE LANGUAGE OF THE ORIGINAL BILL HAS BEEN REPLACED. THE DEGREE TO WHICH THE SUBSTITUTE BILL TEXT DIFFERS FROM THE PREVIOUS VERSION OF THE TEXT CAN VARY GREATLY.