Colorado civil union bill advances out of committee, will be heard by full Senate

This morning, the Colorado Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance a bill that would allow same-sex couples in the state to join together in civil union, which affords same-sex couples some - but not all - of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. Last week, the bill was advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, it will be heard and voted on by the full Colorado Senate.

One Colorado, a statewide organization committed to advancing the needs of LGBT people in Colorado, explained the significance of the bill. They wrote today:

If passed, SB-11 will provide committed gay and lesbian couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities, such as the ability to take family leave to care for a partner, to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, to live together in a nursing home, and to adopt children together. 

Last year, in May, the Colorado House of Represenatives failed to bring the civil union bill to a vote, although it had significant momentum and was expected to pass. Republican leadership in the House essentially filibustered the Civil Union Act, running out the clock so that there was not enough time to take a final vote on the legislation. This year, advocates like One Colorado are hopeful that the state can finally pass the civil union bill.

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.

As we celebrate the advancement of the civil union law 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.