Bisbee's City Council voted 5-2 late Tuesday to recognize same-sex civil unions within the community, after hearing three hours of impassioned comments from residents and despite a warning from the state's attorney general.
The ordinance makes Bisbee the first Arizona city to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples, giving them rights now enjoyed by married couples.
Bisbee City Attorney John MacKinnon says the ordinance's impact will apply only to things within the city's control, such as personnel policies.
Supporters of the Bisbee ordinance have called it the right thing for the "quirky, accepting" city to do, as one speaker told the council Tuesday night, and that it could generate tourism.
Opponents, including pastors who spoke at the council meeting, generally raised religious objections.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne sent a letter to City Council members Tuesday afternoon.
He said if the ordinance passed, it would be unconstitutional. He also said his office will go to court to block it.
Horne contends the ordinance attempts to change state law on issues such as community property, and only the state can change that law.
Find additional information on Bisbee's decision on azstarnet.com and in Thursday's edition of the Star.