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Colorado One Step Closer To Civil Unions

Colorado One Step Closer To Civil Unions


At a packed hearing yesterday in Denver, supporters and detractors of gay marriage both took to the stands to debate a proposed civil union law, which would extend the legal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples in Colorado…without calling it “marriage.”

While the legislation obviously leaves a lot to be desired, civil unions in Colorado would be a good first step, providing much-needed protections for same-sex couples. In 2006, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage passed by a narrow margin – so, for now at least, civil union legislation is as good as the Colorado LGBT community can hope for.

The bill would grant couples the right to make medical and end-of-life decisions for their partners and would enhance inheritance and property rights. The bill even addresses questions of what would happen when same-sex couples with children separate, outlining child support and parental rights.

The bill has been approved in a 5-2 vote, with one Republican senator casting his support for the law. While the law will probably easily pass the Senate, the Republican-controlled House will be another matter entirely.

Some Republican lawmakers are already decrying the bill. Senator Kevin Lunberg protested during the hearing, calling civil unions “a legal jui-jitsu to get around the term” of “gay marriage.” He fears that civil union legislation is a ploy to open the doors to legalizing same-sex marriage further own the road.

It’s hard to argue with that – that’s more or less the strategy being used by LGBT advocates in the state. But what the hearings yesterday made clear is that there are many same-sex couples in Colorado for whom any legal recognition is desperately needed. One couple, Shawna Kempainnen and Lisa Green, described their struggles with multiple sclerosis and how a civil union would help them better deal with Green’s medical issues.

Several Republicans, both straight and gay, did chime in support of the proposed law. Michael Carr, a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, warned that Republicans with GLBT family members will start to resent the party if it continues behavior that he called “hateful” and “bigoted.”

The Denver Post has more information, along with some great video footage from the hearing. We’ll keep the Care2 community updated as the law continues its progress through the state legislature.


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Photo Credit: Guillaume Paumier

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5:35PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

victory.. slowly but surely

5:04PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

There is no need for anti-gay marriage laws. No moral justification, either. If this or that religious organization doesn't want to sanctify gar marriages, fine. If another religious organization wants to do so, fine two. But the State (and all the states) should do so. Fundamental civil rights are, well, fundamental.

2:19PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

I wish for Colorado to do the right thing....

1:38PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

At least it is moving in the right direction, I still don't see the need for such laws, people should be allowed to marry regardless of their sexual preference in partners, love is love, when will the world get that.!

12:40PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Thank you for the article...

12:39PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

So glad I live in Canada. Gay, Married and Happy.
So interesting watching other countries and states fighting over the right for gay marriage.
Hope it all comes to an end soon, and everyone is on the right track of allowing such a union.

12:35PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

At least my State is moving in the right direction, but I won't be satisfied until marriage rights are equal rights for all Americans.We must repeal DOMA and make marriage available to all.

I am 62 years old and have no intentions to marry anyone of ether sex but I feel strongly that equal rights are for everyone.

12:25PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Come on Colorado. Get with the 21st century and pass into law that ANY 2 people who want to marry can be "MARRIED". This is a no brainer.

11:52AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

I love that state by state same sex marriage is coming to reality. But how than as we see ourselves moving forward on this issue do we see our nation moving back hundreds of years on womens issues. Women we need to take a page from the gay communites play book and fight back. What about voting rights? We should be able to sit home and vote on our computors by now. How damned backwards we have become.

11:15AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

As a person who lives in Colorado I can only say NOT SOON ENOUGH!!!!!

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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