Colorado

STATUS:

 Civil union, anti-marriage constitutional amendment

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

Since May 2013, same-sex couples in Colorado have been able to join together in civil union. Now, state advocacy groups are looking forward to completing the state's evolution on marriage by repealing marriage discrimination and winning the freedom to marry for the citizens of Colorado. 

Marriage supporters from across the state have joined together to form Why Marriage Matters Colorado, a public education campaign designed to begin the conversation about the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples in the state. Take the pledge with Why Marriage Matters Colorado HERE.

Two lawsuits have also been filed in Colorado state court seeking the freedom to marry or respect for same-sex couples' out-of-state marriages. Follow the Marriage Litigation in Colorado

As these cases makes their way up through the courts, Coloradans across the state will continue to do the work of having conversations about why marriage matters and creating a climate for victory.

HISTORY:

In 2006, anti-gay forces in Colorado pushed through an anti-marriage constitutional amendment that excluded same-sex couples from marriage. 

In 2009, Colorado approved the Designated Beneficiary Agreements Act of 2009, allowing same-sex couples to access some of the benefits that marriage affords.

In February 2011, the Colorado legislature considered the Colorado Civil Union Act of 2011, which passed out of the state Senate but failed in the House. In May 2012, the Colorado legislature was set to discuss the Colorado Civil Union Act of 2012, which would have granted same-sex couples some of the benefits of marriage. However, due to legislative inaction and a refusal to discuss the bill, the legislation failed. 

On March 21, 2013, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law to allow same-sex couples to join together in civil union. The law takes effect on May 1. 

POLLING DATA: 

In Colorado, only 22% of voters believe that there should be no legal recognition of relationships between same-sex couples, and a majority (53%) of Coloradans say the freedom to marry should be available for all couples. (Public Policy Polling, April 2012)

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Why Marriage Matters Colorado is the grassroots public education campaign to build support for the freedom to marry in Colorado.
  • One Colorado is a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to securing and protecting equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Coloradans and their families.
  • The ACLU of Colorado is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, committed to standing up for equality for all Coloradans.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 12,424 same-sex couples are living in Colorado, representing 6.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to Colorado

Why Marriage Matters Colorado launches public education effort in Centennial State

Freedom to Marry is proud to serve as a founding and leading member of the campaign. Alongside state stalwarts One Colorado and the ACLU of Colorado, Why Marriage Matters CO will fuel a robust conversation about same-sex couples and their families in the state.

9 same-sex couples denied marriage licenses in Colorado file lawsuit

Today, February 19, nine same-sex couples in Colorado filed a lawsuit in state court seeking the freedom to marry in their home state or respect for their marriages legally performed in other states.

Civil Union law takes effect in Colorado

Early this morning, May 1, a law that creates civil union for same-sex couples took effect in Colorado. 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.

See All »

Resources Related to Colorado

Southern Poverty Law Center: 18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda

The Southern Poverty Law Center provides a detailed listing of anti-gay groups know for their dangerous propaganda aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Party Principles: Support for the Freedom to Marry by State and National Political Parties

A listing of both state and national political parties that have made strong statements in support of the freedom to marry.

Colorado Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Colorado.

See All »