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New bill proposes civil unions in Colorado

In 2006, Coloradoans voted down a constitutional amendment that would have recognized same-sex marriage in the state. Five years later, however, some state lawmakers believe voters may have new opinions about the family law issue.

Two openly gay Colorado politicians are proposing another amendment to allow couples in civil unions certain rights that they are not currently afforded.

Senator Pat Steadman of Denver says the bill is not about marriage, but rather about equal protection of families under state law. If passed, the proposed bill would give Colorado couples in a civil union new rights, including being able to make medical decisions that affect their partners in the event of sickness or death, greater parental rights for those who have children, new inheritance rights, greater ease of claiming a partner as a dependent on health insurance plans, and others.

All 20 Democrats in the Senate have signed the bill as co-sponsors. They have a majority in the Senate, which means the bill could have a good chance of making it to the House. If it does, Democratic Representative Mark Ferrandino of Denver will carry the bill. The new bill, Senate Bill 172, faces its first committee hearing today.

Jefferson County Senate Republican leader Mike Kopp says he thinks this issue is not the most important issue to Coloradoans right now. He says that while Democrats have the right to introduce new bills such as this one into legislation, he believes his constituents would prefer to focus on the economy at this time.

Source

Chicago Tribune: "Colo. Lawmakers considering civil unions," Ivan Moreno, 6 March 2011

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