Yesterday the state Senate approved a bill granting civil unions to gay couples 27-9. The bill will go to the House of Representatives perhaps as early as next week.
Here's a remarkable statistic:
Half the Senate's 12 Republicans and all but three of its 24 Democrats voted for the measure.
It's refreshing to see broad bipartisan support for this bill, which is the first of its kind in the nation not prompted by legal action that has a chance of becoming law.
A Quinnipiac University poll out this morning shows that state residents agree with the Senate; 56% of them agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions. Nationally, only 45% of those polled by Quinnipiac supported civil unions. Only 42% of Connecticut residents supported full marriage rights for same-sex couples, but this is much higher than the national figure of 31%.
This poll thankfully puts to rest a deeply flawed poll commissioned by the Family Institute of Connecticut, a socially conservative group opposed to gay marriage, which suggested, among other things, that 78% opposed same-sex marriages, while only 19% supported it.
One of the central goals of the "Family Institute", forcing a nonbinding referendum on civil unions, was also defeated by the Senate yesterday by the same margin, 27-9.
Now the action shifts to the House, where the bill is expected to pass:
...Proponents said they have 83 solid votes in the House, where 76 votes are necessary for passage. Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, the lead sponsor in the House, said the lopsided Senate vote could win over undecided House members. (Pazniokas)
Governor Rell has also indicated her support for the measure, and is not likely to feel pressured to veto it from far-right groups, especially after a poll released yesterday showed her with an 80% approval rating.
I'm actually quite surprised, although very pleased, at the lack of a fuss this bill has generated. I expect it will pass the House easily, and become law later this year.
Sources Quinnipiac Poll, March 29-April 4 2005.
Pazniokas, Mark. "Senate Backs Civil Unions". Hartford Courant 7 April 2005.