Colo. won’t clarify civil unions law until Supreme Court issues marriage ruling

Colorado state capitol in Denver.

Colorado state capitol in Denver.

DENVER — Colorado won’t address some legal questions about same-sex unions pending a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage.

Colorado state capitol in Denver.

Colorado state capitol in Denver.

A Republican-controlled Senate committee voted 3-2 on party lines Wednesday to reject a bill clarifying aspects of Colorado’s civil-unions law.

Colorado has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but it is on hold. The Supreme Court has announced that it will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in America and will take up cases that ask them to overturn bans in four states. The cases will be argued in April, and a decision is expected by late June.

In the meantime, Colorado allows same-sex couples to both marry and enter civil unions.

A Democrat proposed updating Colorado law to clarify the legal standing of people in civil unions.

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The measure by Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver would have answered nuts-and-bolts questions for people in civil unions, such as whether their union counts toward the length of a marriage if they choose to marry.

Steadman, who sponsored Colorado’s 2013 civil-unions law, said the legal landscape for marriage is changing quickly and that Colorado needs to act now to avoid legal wrangling later.

“I think we knew this day was coming,” Steadman told the committee about the looming Supreme Court decision.

Republicans control the committee and rejected the measure without comment.

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