Civil Union law takes effect in Colorado

Early this morning, May 1, a law that creates civil union for same-sex couples - a mechanism that provides many, but not all, of the protections of marriage - took effect in Colorado. 

The Denver Post has a wonderful slideshow full of photos of happy couples declaring their commitment to each other and joining together in civil union. Sonja and Courtney (right) were just one of the couples who waited in line last night in Denver. 

This year, advocates at One Colorado, the statewide organization committed to advancing the needs of LGBT people in Colorado, worked hard to ensure that the legislature passed the civil union bill. They succeeded in both chambers of the CO legislature, and on March 21 of this year, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law

Civil union provides a measure of protections to same-sex couples and their families, but it is not a substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security, and responsibility of marriage itself. Civil union excludes people from marriage and creates an unfair system that falls short of providing the same protections as marriage. Despite their inequality, civil union legislation shows progress and provides same-sex couples and their families with important responsibilitie and protections that they previously did not have.

Recent polling demonstrates that the residents of Colorado approve of the civil union law - with 50 percent supporting it - but even more survey respondents said they'd like to see Colorado extend the full freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Fifty-one percent of respondents in an April 2013 Public Policy Polling survey said they support the freedom to marry. Voters under 30 favor the freedom to marry by a 74/17 margin. 

As we celebrate the civil union law taking effect in Colorado, we also look forward to a day when same-sex couples can see their state stand up for their love, their commitment, and their families by extending the full freedom to marry. 

Photo by Craig F. Walker for The Denver Post