3:13 pm - Saturday December 16, 7465

Civil Unions bill passes Senate Judiciary Committee

Civil Unions now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for another vote

Sen. Steadman and Sen. Guzman celebrate after their civil union bill passes the Senate Judiciary committee.
(higher resolution photo available upon request)

DENVER — Today in a move toward greater equality for all Coloradans, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Civil Unions (SB 11) on a 3 to 2 vote.  Nearly 25 people from the public testified in favor of the bill, 15 against.  Senators Guzman, Ulibarri, and Aguilar voted to move the bill forward.  It will now go to the Senate Appropriations committee for another vote.

Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver) and Senator Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) co-prime sponsored the bill, as well as Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Representative Sue Schafer in the House of Representatives.

If Senate Bill 11 is passed into law, two people, regardless of gender, will be able to enter into a civil union.  The legislation will grant them the following basic legal protections:

  • Responsibility to financially support one another
  • Property rights
  • Protections against discrimination based upon spousal status
  • Rights within the probate laws
  • The ability to adopt a partner’s child
  • Protections under domestic violence laws
  • Legal rights relating to medical care and treatment and hospital visitation
  • Eligibility for family leave benefits
  • and other rights and responsibilities.

“Legalizing civil unions helps us get to where we want to be, which is a Colorado that welcomes diversity, and gives all of its citizens access to basic legal protections.  This is a significant step toward greater equality,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman.

“I vowed that I would introduce civil unions legislation each year until it is passed.  I hope this is the last year I will have to run this bill.  I expect that by this summer, LGBT Coloradans will have the right to express their love through civil unions.  It is long overdue,” said Sen. Pat Steadman.

A May 2012 poll from Keating Research reports that nearly 75% of Coloradans favor legal recognition of LGBT partners, whether that be through civil unions or other means.

“The Senate Democrats are willing to work with anyone and everyone who values equality and works toward the greater good for all Coloradans,” said Pres. John Morse.

Last year, civil unions was narrowly defeated after Republicans in the House of Representatives abruptly halted debate on the topic during the last days of the session, then defeated it in a special session.

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