December 18, 2014

Civil Unions Bill Advances from the Senate to the House

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.

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