Colorado civil unions bills clears first hurdle in Senate committee


DENVER — The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved the Colorado Civil Union Act. The bill would give same-sex couples in Colorado the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

The bill, sponsored by two openly gay lawmakers, Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), and Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), would provide committed gay and lesbian couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities, such as the ability to inherit property, to take family leave to care for a partner, to visit a partner in the hospital, and to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner.

The measure is expected to pass easily in the state Senate where the entire Democratic majority signed on as co-sponsors, but faces opposition in the GOP-led House.

Republican opposition to the measure centers on whether or not the bill would violate the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

According to a Feb. 2011 poll by Public Policy Polling, 72 percent of Colorado voters support legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples.

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