Colorado state senator introduces same-sex civil unions bill


DENVER — A Colorado lawmaker on Monday introduced legislation that would legalize civil unions for same-sex couples.

Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), who is openly gay, said the bill “is a method of recognizing committed relationships between two people, and allowing them to access the full scope of protections in Colorado law.”

The Colorado Independent reports:

The bill comes after weeks of anticipation … After the legislative session began in January, Steadman allowed bill drafters time to pour through the hundreds of instances where statutes address the rights and responsibilities of married couples.

He plans to have lawmakers opposed to the bill articulate exactly which of those rights and responsibilities they would keep from gay Coloradans.

If passed, this legislation would allow civil unions and provide committed gay and lesbian couples with legal protections needed for health and family planning, including dissolution of relationship and the separation of property.

The bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, but it’s future in the Republican-controlled House is uncertain, where the GOP has only a 33-32 edge.

Steadman said he believes the fate of his bill will be decided by the members of the House Judiciary Committee.

Supporters believe the measure would pass the full House if it can make it to the floor for a vote.

In November 2006, Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as “only a union of one man and one woman” — the vote was 55% to 45%.

A second initiative of the same ballot would have authorized domestic partnerships — that measure failed by a vote of 47% in favor to 53% opposed.

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