21 Jan 2010

Guam senator defends same sex civil union bill

3:19 pm on 21 January 2010

The author of Guam's controversial Civil Union bill says the legislation isn't about a religious issue but an effort to advance equal rights on the island.

Senator Benjamin Cruz admits he may not have the support to pass the bill which would authorise same-sex civil unions in Guam, and is scheduled for debate in the legislature session that started this week.

However, the Catholic Church has submitted a petition signed by almost 8,000 people who oppose Bill 185, fearing it will promote homosexuality.

Senator Cruz says he has revised the bill numerous times to address the church's concerns.

"I tried to make sure that I used the word 'civil' to have the church realise that I am addressing a civil issue and not a religious issue. I put into the bill that no church is going to be held liable for refusing to perform any services because no one can perform the services except for the clerk up at the Department of Public Health and Social Services."

Senator Benjamin Cruz