July 18, 2019

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Historic Civil Unions Bill

On Thursday, March 21, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed SB 13-011 – Concerning Authorization of Civil Unions and, in  Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzman from the House, and Sens. Mark Ferrandino and Sue Schafer from the Senate.

Governor Hickenlooper issued a statement through One Colorado, remarking, “I had the incredible honor of signing civil unions into law. It was a historic moment for Colorado, which now joins a tide of hope sweeping the nation that affirms all couples should have the protections they need to care for each other and their families.” The bill grants rights to same-sex couples that are similar to those protections married couples enjoy under the law.

The bill takes effect on May 1, 2013, and will impact many areas of the law. The practice areas that will be most directly affected are family law and trust and estate law. On May 1,2013, the effective date of the legislation, CBA-CLE will host two half-day programs discussing the impact of civil unions on family law and trust and estate practice. Topics to be discussed include

  • Predicting the legal consequences of civil unions on  Title 14 and Title 19 actions;
  • A survey of same-sex marriage and civil unions in other jurisdictions and reciprocity issues;
  • Implications of the civil unions law in Colorado and nationwide;
  • Highlights and key provisions of the law that are important to a trust and estate practice; and
  • Civil unions and elder law.

The programs will be presented by Elizabeth Bryant, Erica Johnson, Richard Mishkin, Marie Avery Moses, and Richard Rotole. Click the link below to register or call (303) 850-0608.

CLE Program:  Civil Unions – Legal Consequences for Family and Trust & Estate Practices

This CLE presentation will take place on May 1, 2013, in the CLE Large Classroom. Click here to register for the live program and click here to register for the live webcast.

Can’t make the live program? Click here to order the homestudy.

Civil Unions Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the Colorado Legislature gave its approval to SB 13-011, “Concerning the Authorization of Civil Unions, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation.” The bill was introduced by Sens. Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzman, and Reps. Mark Ferrandino and Sue Schafer.

Senator Pat Steadman, who sponsored this year’s bill and also last year’s civil unions bill (SB 12-002) and the 2011 version (SB 11-172), issued the following statement on his website.

On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the House of Representatives voted to pass SB 13-011 by a margin of 39 to 26.  All Democratic members of the House and Senate voted to support the extension of basic legal rights that SB 11 offers to couples in our state, as did a handful of Republican members.  The bill will soon be delivered to the desk of Governor John Hickenlooper for signature.

I’m incredibly proud of our state and this historic accomplishment.  We’ve come a long way from the dark days of 1992, when voters added a controversial and discriminatory provision to the Colorado Constitution that sought to exclude gays and lesbians from the equal protection of the law in our state.  The United States Supreme Court struck down “Amendment 2,” as it was known, in a 6 to 3 decision in 1996.  I sat in the courtroom the October day in 1995 when they heard oral arguments in the Romer v. Evans case.  Looking back on this chapter of our history puts today’s victory in perspective.

The road to equality is long and rocky.  We’ve overcome some major obstacles along the way, but there is more work still to do.  Another provision of the Colorado Constitution continues to discriminate against gay men and lesbians and prevent their equal inclusion in the fabric of our society.  Some day soon it too must be overturned.  As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the Romer v. Evans opinion, “A state cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.”  Passage of SB 11 helps remedy the inequality enshrined in our state constitution and ends the status of “strangers to our laws,” but we still have far to go before the promise of liberty and justice for all is fulfilled.

Governor Hickenlooper promised support of the bill in January’s State of the State address, where he urged the legislature to pass a bill allowing civil unions — “Some of us tried very hard, but it didn’t get done last year. This year, let’s do it. Let’s pass civil unions!”

The Colorado Bar Association has supported the civil unions bill for the second year in a row. The legislation has far-reaching effects, impacting not only domestic relations law but also estate planning, employment law, and other areas. We will continue to post about civil unions, including its effects on specific practice areas, using the civil unions tag. Stay tuned.

e-Legislative Report: March 11, 2013

Michael Valdez, the Director of Legislative Relations for the Colorado Bar Association, discusses notable bills at the Capitol in this week’s edition of the e-Legislative Report. The Legislative Policy Committee did not meet on March 8, so there is no update from LPC.

At the Capitol

  • HB 13-1138. Concerning Benefit Corporations. By Rep. Lee and Sen. Kefalas. On Friday, March 9, the House Appropriations moved the bill to the full House for consideration on 2nd Reading. The bill will be on the calendar for 2nd Reading sometime during the week of March 11.
  • On March 8, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law, HB 13-1035. Concerning an increase in the number of judges in certain judicial districts, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. The bill creates two new district court judgeships; one each in the 5th and 9th Judicial Districts. Although the bill was signed on March 8, the act doesn’t take effect until July 1.
  • Almost 10 years in the making, SB 13-33. Concerning in-state classification at institutions of higher education for students who complete high school in Colorado was given final approval by the House of Representatives on Friday, March 8. The bill requires an institution of higher education in Colorado to classify a student as an in-state student for tuition purposes if the student: 1) attends a public or private high school in Colorado for least 3 years immediately preceding graduation or completion of a general equivalency diploma (GED) in Colorado; and 2) is admitted to a Colorado institution or attends an institution under a reciprocity agreement
  • Civil Unions watch: SB 13-11. Concerning authorization of civil unions, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. By Sen. Steadman and Rep. Ferrandino. On March 6, the Finance Committee approved the bill and referred it to the Appropriations Committee. On March 8, the Appropriations Committee adopted the bill and sent it to the full House for consideration on 2nd Reading. Why all the attention to SB 11? Once approved, the vast majority of the bill goes into effect on May 1. View the current bill version online.

Also available in the e-Legislative Report are summaries of 20 bills of interest — 10 from each house. Click here for the full list of bill summaries, or stay tuned to CBA-CLE Legal Connection.

SB 13-011: Authorizing Civil Unions in Colorado

On Wednesday, January 9, 2013, Sen. Pat Steadman introduced SB 13-011 – Concerning Authorization of Civil Unions. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill creates the “Colorado Civil Union Act” (Act) to authorize any two unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union. Parties wanting to enter into a civil union apply to a county clerk and recorder for a civil union license. Certain persons may certify a civil union. After the civil union is certified, the officiant files the civil union certificate with the county clerk and recorder. A priest, minister, rabbi, or other official of a religious institution or denomination or an Indian nation or tribe is not required to certify a civil union in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion. The criteria for a valid civil union are set forth in the bill.The CBA LPC voted to support this legislation on Jan. 18, 2013. Assigned to the Judiciary Committee.