Colorado Designated Beneficiaries

Timothy Kincaid

February 17th, 2009

Colorado voters passed an anti-gay marriage ban in 2006 and during that same vote, the electorate declined to provide for domestic partnership. However, civil unions or other forms of partner benefits are not banned in the Colorado Constitution.

The House Judiciary Committee in Colorado has now passed (7-3) a bill allowing for the establishment of designated beneficiary agreements. Considering that sixteen years ago Colorado voters passes an amendement to their constitution (overturned by the US Supreme Court) that would have institutionalized discrimination against gay citizens and banned them from even appealling to their government for relief.

The proposed designated beneficiary agreements would allow individuals entering such an agreement to:

  • Be a conservator or guardian for the other designated beneficiary;
  • Be treated as a beneficiary under the other designated beneficiary’s benefits for life insurance;
  • Be treated as a dependent under the other designated beneficiary’s benefits for health insurance if the designated beneficiary’s employer elects to provide coverage to designated beneficiaries;
  • Have the right to visit the other designated beneficiary in the hospital or in a nursing home;
  • Inherit through intestate succession upon the death of the other designated beneficiary;
  • Have standing to sue for wrongful death of the other designated beneficiary;
  • Act as an agent to make, revoke, or object to anatomical gifts involving the other designated beneficiary;
  • Direct the disposition of the other designated beneficiary’s last remains.

The bill would also recognize those individuals who are in civil unions, domestic partnerships, or marriages that Colorado does not recognize as having the rights of a designated beneficiary. Designated beneficiaries would not be limited to gay couples but appears to be open to any two adults that are not otherwise married.

Should this bill pass, Designated Beneficiaries would join Marriage, Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships and Reciprocal Beneficiaries as the various forms by which states have used to provide various levels of recognition and protection to the families of their gay citizens.

Bill Ware

February 17th, 2009

“Considering that sixteen years ago Colorado voters passes an amendment to their constitution (overturned by the US Supreme Court) that would have institutionalized discrimination against gay citizens and banned them from even appealing to their government for relief.”

It’s been 16 years since the Colorado Supreme Court overturned Proposition 2 in Evans v Romer? Wow, how time flies. This was later confirmed by the US Supreme Court in Romer v Evans.

After his ruling, the Chief Justice of the CO SC stated, “The majority cannot use the ballot box to vote away the rights of the minority.” I’ve always thought very highly of that statement. If everyone would abide by this simple principle, the California SC, for example, we would all be a lot better off.

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