Tempe City Council considers legal effects of Civil Unions

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

TEMPE, Ariz. -- On Tuesday, the City of Bisbee passed civil unions. One of those watching was Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville.

"When I saw that Bisbee was doing something like this, my first thought was, 'Oh, can cities do that?'" he said.

Curious, he called together the Council and the City Attorney Thursday afternoon for some advice.

"I wanted to know from a legal standpoint what does it mean? What are the ramifications of it? What was the effectiveness of it?" said Granville.

It's the early stages, but many are applauding Granville's move to bring up the issue. One of his biggest cheerleaders is openly gay former mayor of Tempe, Neil Giuliano.

Giuliano served the city for a decade, and now works with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He told 3TV the council's youth should have an impact.

"This is the civil right's issue of our time,"  he said. "Young people overwhelmingly support equality for their gay and lesbian family members, coworkers, neighbors and friends, and the fact that they on City Council can do something about that is great."

Provided his legal questions are answered, Granville does plan to move forward. He says civil unions are a human issue.

"My hope is then based on those discussions I'll be able to go forward in time with the support of my colleagues in passing similar in Tempe, to what's been passed in Bisbee."

Long before a vote on that happens, the issue would be added to several Tempe City Council meetings, and the public will have the chance to share its feelings, for and against.