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Colorado Gay Marriage - Colorado Civil Unions

Colorado Ballot Measures 2006


Colorado Gay Rights

Election Update November 8, 2006

Colorado voters defeated a civil unions bill and voted to outlaw gay marriage.

Colorado is in a unique position this election year. Voters will have the chance to outlaw gay marriage, while at the same time, vote for a law to allow civil unions. Amendment 43, if passed, will prohibit gay marriage, and Referendum I, if passed will grant domestic partners certain rights and responsibilities.

Colorado voters will have the opportunity to give gay and lesbian couples some legal protections under the law. Referendum I will allow committed couples (gay or straight) with basic, common sense, legal protections and responsibilities, including the right to visit a partner in the hospital, make decisions for an incapacitated partner, make funeral arrangements, direct nursing home care and secure basic property and inheritance rights.

What is the wording of Referendum 1?

Referendum I proposes a change to the Colorado statutes that:
  • Creates a new legal relationship, called a domestic partnership, providing same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the legal protections and responsibilities granted to married couples by Colorado law;
  • Defines the criteria and process for entering into a domestic partnership; and
  • Specifies that domestic partnerships are not marriage and do not change the public policy of the state, which defines marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. Summary and Analysis Under Colorado law, there is no process for same-sex couples to establish a legally binding relationship with legal protections, benefits, and responsibilities. Referendum I creates such a process, beginning February 12, 2007, and gives domestic partners the legal rights and responsibilities that spouses have. The legislature is required to pass laws to implement the provisions of Referendum I.

    What is the wording of Amendment 43?

    Amendment 43 is an amendment to the Colorado Constitution, concerning marriage, and, in connection therewith, specifying that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado.

    What Does this mean?

    Amendment 43 amends the state constitution by defining marriage in Colorado as only a union between one man and one woman. For a marriage to be valid under Colorado statutes, it must be (1) between a man and a woman; and (2) licensed, solemnized, and registered according to established procedures.

    Why should you care?

    This is the first time voters will have the opportunity to vote against gay marriage and at the same time grant gays and lesbians some legal protections for their relationships.
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