Colorado State moved closer today (31 January) to pass the same-sex civil union act, when a Senate appropriations committee approved it by a vote of 4-3.
The bill now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.
If passed the bill, know as SB-11, will provide committed gay and lesbian couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities.
According to LGBTQ Nation, these includes adoption, family leave (to care for a partner), medical benefits, living together in a nursing home and end-of-life decisions,
Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, said: ‘Committed gay and lesbian couples in the state have been waiting for years — 10, 20, even 40 years — to have their relationships protected. It’s well past time that these families have equal protection under the law’.
‘We applaud the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee who voted to affirm that all families are worthy of dignity and respect. We look forward to bipartisan passage on the floor of the Senate’.
‘Our community isn’t advocating for civil unions in order to achieve some historic victory for Colorado. We’re advocating for our families — for the couples that have been together 40 years, for the kids whose parents aren’t treated equally in the eyes of the law, for the gay student who finally sees his government recognizing who he is. That’s what we’re fighting for’.
During the hearing Thursday, Republican State Senator Ted Harvey slammed the bill as ‘draconian’, and warned it would cost dearly taxpayers as it ‘violates religious freedoms’.
He also and questioned why the bill’s fiscal note did not include any provisions for ‘potential lawsuits’.
The bill is sponsored by four of Colorado’s out Democratic gay lawmakers, and is due to be approved by Governor John W. Hickenlooper and become law May 1.
In 2006, voters approved Amendment 43 banning same-sex marriage and common law marriages between same-sex partners.
However, civil unions are not explicitly banned by the amendment.