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Same sex civil unions and same-sex marriages (SSM)

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in Colorado from 2012 until now

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Current status of government recognition of same-sex couples as of mid-2012-JUN-03:

In 2006, the state Constitution was amended to ban same-sex marriages and common law marriages between loving, committed same-sex couples. Colorado law had already banned such recognition. The purpose of the constitutional amendment was to make it more difficult for the Legislature to legalize SSM in the future; it would first have had to repeal the amendment, or have the amendment declared unconstitutional by federal court. The amendment also made it impossible for the state courts to legalize SSM. By writing discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals into the Constitution, the courts would have no power to modify it.

Prior to 2009, loving committed same-sex couples had few protections for themselves and their children. They were regarded as "legal strangers" to each other -- as mere roommates.

Since 2009, limited rights, such as arranging funerals, obtaining death benefits, and freely inheriting property without state taxes were provided to such couples.

The Legislature attempted to pass a civil unions bill in 2011, but was unsuccessful due to Republican opposition.

During the spring of 2012, the future of the civil unions bill looked encouraging:

  • A poll reported in 2010 by Greenberg Quinian Rosner showed widespread support for civil unions: 61% of Republicans, 84% of Independents, 70% of Catholics, 67% of Protestants, even 55% of "born again" Christians all supported it.

  • A more recent poll reported in 2011-FEB showed that 72% of all adults in the state favored civil unions.

  • In late April, the Senate had passed a new civil unions bill.

  • The House had a sufficient bipartisan majority to pass the bill if they were only allowed to vote on it.

  • Governor John Hckenlooper (D) had promised to sign it into law.

However, in order to kill the bill, political manouvering prevented an up-down vote in the House before the session ended. A week later, a special session of the Legislature began. Republican legislators sent the bill to a committee that was known to have a majority opposed to the bill. It died in that committee.

It was resubmitted during the next legislative session, when public support was expected to reach at least 75%.

The bill was reintroduced as Senate Bill 11 during early 2003. It passed the legislature and was signed into law on MAR-21. The law took effect on 2013-MAY-01.

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Copyright 2012 & 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-MAY-05
Latest update: 2014-APR-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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