The same-sex legislation's untimely demise - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

The same-sex legislation's untimely demise

by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz's controversial domestic partnership legislation, Bill 185, did not have the political punch to play on the session floor this time around. While 185 is currently not going to make it on to session agenda, speaker of the Guam Youth Congress Derrick Hills says at least the glass ceiling was cracked. 

Said Hills, "Senator Cruz knows very well that we put our efforts into it and to be abandoned to use the word abandoned can be legitimate for this present situation."

So much for not giving up without a fight - that was the sentiment from Hills after an emotional eight-month battle fighting for domestic partnership on Guam.  While Cruz only had the support of three other sitting senators including Speaker Judi Won Pat, Senator Rory Respicio and Senator Frank Aguon, Jr., Hills says the vice-speaker pulled the plug prematurely.

"Well, the ship left without its customers. He hasn't called me, he hasn't emailed me and I haven't heard from the other organizations about what their comments are on the position Senator Cruz has taken, but I am absolutely disappointed," Hills said.

But the vice-speaker says even though there may not have been enough open support for the bill to wind up on session floor and be debated among fellow lawmakers, he hasn't given up hope.  "The bill isn't dead, people just need to see the other thirteen senators and try to get their support...four of the 'no' votes are from senators who actually have gay staffers and the staffers haven't been able to convince their own senators, so I don't know what to do at that point."

Yet hills criticized Cruz and lawmakers for not doing enough.  "The people of Guam know which senators are actually standing on this issue because they haven't debated the bill, they haven't talked about its merits. The people of Guam know they elected officials that don't act," he said.

From emotional outcries to heated debate on the session floor and a tumultuous back and forth with the archbishop, the vice-speaker says he believes in the end it was just too politically risky for some lawmakers to take on the Catholic Church.  "I guess the senators don't believe there a large enough group out there to state their political careers on, especially in light of the fact that the church has come out with a petition in opposition," he said.

The vice-speaker says he still believes he was right in introducing the bill but with just four lawmakers in favor, two wanting a referendum and the rest hoping it would go away he's not surprised by the outcome. The lawmaker remains vague on his next steps.

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