Mar 6, 2011 10:21 PM by Jeannette Hynes

Civil union bill heads to committee in Colo. Senate

The Colorado State Senate is going to tackle civil unions. State Senate Bill 172 would give any couple who enters into a civil union specific legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities. The bill goes before the judiciary committee Monday.

"The goal is to make sure gay couples get treated the same as other couples," explains John Morse (D - El Paso County), Senate Majority Leader and one of the co-sponsors of this bill. "I feel very strongly that the government shouldn't be telling us who we can and cannot love."

Opponents like the Colorado Catholic Conference say they will lobby to fight this bill.

"We really fell that this is an assault on marriage and the voters have been very clear on this issue," remarks Jenny Kraska, Colorado Catholic Conference executive director.

In 2006, Referendum "I" would have given legal rights to civil unions, but it didn't pass. In that same year, voters approved Amendment 43 which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

"The biggest issue is it trying to confer something like a marriage to domestic partnerships and if it is, then I think it is something that the people of Colorado have spoken that they do not want to do," says State Senator Keith King (R - El Paso County).

Morse says he believes the bill has enough support in the Senate to pass but will face challenges in the House.

"Mostly what they [gay couples] struggle with is literally being treated like second-class citizens and I think that's what we need to stop doing," says Morse.

The bill covers issues like inheritance, insurance, benefits, adoption, and domestic violence.




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