New Version of Civil Union Bill to be Introduced

Posted at: 04/24/2013 10:42 PM
Updated at: 04/24/2013 10:47 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A new version of the civil union bill is said to go for its first reading Thursday at the Minnesota capitol. It would make civil unions for everyone, gay or straight, and leave the term marriage specifically for churches.

We spoke with Democratic Representative Kim Norton who just recently took her name off of the original civil union bill. She says it was because the language still treated gay and straight couples differently, and the new bill would redefine marriage in the state, as a civil union for all couples.

"She is my life. She is my partner. We raise my kids together as our kids, as our family," said Linda Kvall. She says her family is a perfect example of what marriage should be all about. "I think that marriage is one specific thing that two people love each other and want to be in a committed relationship," said Kvall.

That definition of marriage has been a constant battle at the state capital. There's a bill in support of same-sex marriage, one suggesting civil unions for gay couples, and now a bill putting civil unions in place of marriage for everyone.

"It makes certain that every Minnesotan couple gets a civil union in the state of Minnesota and that marriages are left to the churches that are offering them," said Rep. Norton. She says she'll be signing onto the new legislation because this way everyone will be treated equally under Minnesota law.

"Some people have goten hurt by my decision to sign this on, but as I think I’ve shared with you before, I have not found a majority of folks in my community with one opinion," said Rep. Norton.

"I think they are just trying to change the name to appease constituents in their areas and what they should be doing is educating their constituents," said Kvall.

Kvall just hopes that this new bill won’t distract from the issue she stands by, that marriage should stay as it's been, and be for everyone. "It seems to me that they are changing this to a civil union to try to throw everybody off so the bill doesn't get passed at all," said Kvall.

The new legislation differs from Federal law, and that would have to be worked out if this bill were to move forward. It's only being introduced Thursday, and would have a long way to go to pass.