Currently, Vermont, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Maine and Washington are the only states that recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. The Washington State Senate passed a domestic partnership bill in March. Late last month, the New Hampshire Senate voted in favor of a bill already passed by the state House allowing same-sex civil unions. Also in late April, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage in New York.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed two gay rights bills into law Wednesday, establishing civil unions for gay couples and enacting anti-discrimination measures. House Bill 2007 allows same-sex couples to enter into contractual domestic partnerships with the same state benefits as married couples. The measure covers state benefits including inheritance, child custody, and hospital visitation rights, but does not affect federal benefits for married couples. Kulongoski had said he would sign the bill if it passed the state House and Senate. Kulongoski also signed Senate Bill 2, banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and creating a civil cause of action for violations of the act.
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