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Utah bill that will give gay couples rights advances in legislature

Republican Majority Leader Peter Knudson favors the bill; it’s also supported by Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.

Considering the large Mormon population and history of intolerance toward gays, this is great progress…(365gay):

Less than three months after Utah voters approved an amendment banning same-sex marriage the Legislature is considering a bill to give some rights to gay and lesbian couples. The legislation was approved unanimously Friday in committee in the Senate. Even Republican Majority Leader Peter Knudson who moved for a vote said it is “a fine piece of legislation.”

Under the proposed bill any two adults even siblings or a grandparent and child could register with the state Health Department. It would grant hospital-visitation rights, inheritance benefits, and allow partners to make organ-donation decisions, make funeral arrangements and emergency medical choices for the other person.

Jane Marquardt, chairwoman of the board for Equality Utah, said the proposed legislation is not a civil union bill. “[It] in no way approaches the more than 1,200 rights and responsibilities that automatically accompany traditional marriage,” she said. Nevertheless, she says it is an “excellent start.”

The legislation has the support of Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding