Bisbee ready to decide on same-sex unions - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Bisbee ready to decide on same-sex unions

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BISBEE, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's a controversial issue and a small Southern Arizona city is making national headlines for progress it's made on marriage equality.

Happening today, City Council members in Bisbee are coming as close as they can to approving same-sex marriage. 

Bisbee is taking steps that haven't been seen in Tucson, Pima County or anywhere else in Arizona. 

Tonight, the city appears set to approve same sex civil unions.  It would be the first in the state to do so.

The old mining town of about 5,500 is described by the mayor as being very progressive. 

Last month the City Council unanimously supported a proposal to allow same sex civil unions.  If passed same sex couples in Bisbee, like married couples could visit each other in the hospital and choose where their partner is buried, share benefits and health care, among other rights.

There is opposition in the town too.  Some maintain that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, as read in Arizona's constitution. 

Bisbee's mayor has said all the discomfort creates an opportunity to talk about what divides us, what unites us.

The vote is happening tonight at 7 p.m.; if passed couples could start getting civil union certificates in early May.

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