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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Civil Unions for Colorado?

Two Colorado legislators are preparing to introduce civil union legislation to the State Senate and State House. With an increasing number of GOP politicians nationwide willing to break with the party on social issues, and specifically on LGBT equality, this could just be one where enough Republican support can be found to tip the balance in our favour (New York could be another).

Hemmed in by state anti-gay marriage law, Steadman to introduce civil unions bill

Denver Democratic state Senator Pat Steadman is sponsoring a bill that would make same-sex civil unions legal in Colorado. The move is being cheered as long overdue by gay rights supporters, who have been stymied in efforts to win equality by a constitutional amendment that outlaws gay marriage in the state. In weighing whether or not to introduce the legislation this summer, Steadman told the Colorado Independent that “promoting a lesser status for gay people is not ideal” but that, in the short term, “people could really benefit from civil unions.”
Steadman’s bill, which will be sponsored by Denver Rep. Mark Ferrandino in the House, will confer on couples entering into a civil union all of the legal rights granted through marriage– rights that include, for example, inheriting property, sharing health insurance policies, making crucial end-of-life medical and financial decisions.
These aren’t just protections couples share with one another, they’re also family responsibilities, Brad Clark, head of gay rights group OneColorado, told the Colorado Independent. “There are literally hundreds or even thousands of instances of rights shared by couples littered throughout the state code.”
In a release, OneColorado reported that the Strong Families Coalition supporting Steadman’s bill is made up of 66 organizations representing more than half a million Coloradans.
OneColorado has been surveying residents of the state for roughly a year on gay rights and larger equality issues, and Clark said that the campaign around Steadman’s bill will be focused on demonstrating grassroots support. He said views in Colorado on the ground seem to have changed a great deal since anti-gay marriage Amendment 43 passed in 2006. He said support for civil unions comes not just from liberal Denver and Boulder but from communities all across the state.

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