Lambda Legal Applauds As Colorado Passes Civil Union Bill
"Another state has taken an important step forward in recognizing and protecting same-sex couples and their families. We congratulate the bill's sponsors - State Sen. Pat Steadman and Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino - as well as One Colorado and the many other advocates and elected officials who fought so hard to secure this legal recognition."
(Denver, CO, March 11, 2013) – Today, the Colorado House of Representatives passed the Colorado Civil Union Act, granting same-sex couples access to the range of rights, protections and obligations enjoyed by married couples under Colorado law. The bill was approved earlier this month by the State Senate, and Gov. John Hickenlooper has stated he will sign the measure when it comes to his desk. It will go into effect on May 1, 2013. Lambda Legal's Law and Policy Project Director Jennifer Pizer issued the following statement:
"Another state has taken an important step forward in recognizing and protecting same-sex couples and their families. We congratulate the bill's sponsors - State Sen. Pat Steadman and Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino - as well as One Colorado and the many other advocates and elected officials who fought so hard to secure this legal recognition. We have received a great many calls over the years at Lambda Legal from LGBT Coloradans seeking help and advice on how they can protect their families. This bill goes a long way towards making that protection a reality.
"With the expected signature of Gov. Hickenlooper, nine states - including Rhode Island and Illinois - allow same-sex couples to obtain all or nearly all of the state-law rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage by entering a civil union or domestic partnership. In addition, there now are nine states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex couples are free to marry, and marriage bills supported by their respective governors are moving through the legislatures of Illinois and Rhode Island. That's 18 states in this country plus the nation's capital where same-sex couples are visible, have meaningful protection under the law, and can live their lives with greater security. Even in very conservative states like Texas and Wyoming, more and more legislators have decided it is time to push for change because - for all committed couples - the law should help, not hinder, those trying to support and protect their loved ones.
"Of course civil unions and domestic partnerships, no matter how complete the package of protections, are not marriage. True equality is the freedom to marry the one you love and be included under the same laws as your neighbors. It is time to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, and Lambda Legal and many others will continue to fight for that goal."
The Colorado Civil Union Act passed on its third try through the General Assembly after being blocked procedurally by House leadership in 2012 and failing on the House floor in 2011. In 2012, voters in three states - Maine, Maryland and Washington - approved measures allowing same-sex couples to marry, and voters in Minnesota defeated an anti-marriage equality amendment referendum. In addition to Illinois and Rhode Island, marriage equality efforts continue in Minnesota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon and Delaware. In addition, in March the U. S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases that could have profound implications for married same-sex couples and those seeking to marry - appeals of two separate appellate court rulings finding California's discriminatory Proposition 8 amendment and a key section of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.