On Thursday, March 24, 2011, the Colorado Civil Union Act, which authorizes any two unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union, passed its Third Reading in the Senate and will now progress to the House, where it is being sponsored by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver.
Under SB 11-172, the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted under the law to spouses shall apply in like manner to parties to a civil union, including the ability to:
- insure a partner, including dependent coverage under life insurance and health insurance policies
- inherit property
- take family leave time
- make medical and end-of-life decisions
- file a claim based on wrongful death, emotional distress, and loss of consortium
- receive survivor benefits
- receive public assistance benefits
The same processes that are provided in law for dissolution, legal separation, and declaration of invalidity of a marriage apply to dissolution, legal separation, and declaration of invalidity of a civil union.
No religious official of any denomination or institution is required to certify a civil union in violation of their constitutional right to free exercise of religion. However, they may certify such a union should they choose to do so.
The bill is expected to face long odds of advancing out of its as-yet unassigned House committee in the Republican-controlled House.