As Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, presented his civil unions bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee, some Republicans expressed concerns the bill might violate the Colorado Constitution’s prohibition against gay marriage.
Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, told Steadman that he would have a very difficult time making a convincing argument that civil unions were not marriage. Explaining the relationship was identical to marriage “except that it is available to same sex couples and heterosexual couples as an alternative to marriage.
“You have a very, very hard case that this is not truly in violation of the Colorado Constitution that recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Steadman said that there were a number of differences including federal recognition and state recognition outside of Colorado.
A spokesperson for the Log Cabin Republicans also spoke, stating that the bill was in line with the thinking of the “Great Communicator” Pres. Ronald Reagan.
“It is important that the strength of our families is essential to the strength of our nation,” Alexander Hornaday, speaking on behalf of the Log Cabin Republicans, said. “What we have here is the opportunity to create stable families.”
The bill would give individuals many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage including the ability to inherit property, hospital visitation rights and the ability to more easily adopt a partner’s child.
Steadman further said his bill would help bolster Colorado’s economy.
UCLA’s Williams Institute found that a civil unions bill would bring the state $4.8 million over three years. The increase in funds would be generated through savings in public benefits plans, state license fees and sales tax revenues.