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Civil unions campaign announced in Colorado

Daniel Gonzales

December 16th, 2010

Sen. Pat Steadman

Well this announcement came sooner than I was expecting, I crack open my Denver Post app this morning and see “Colorado lawmaker plans to introduce civil-unions bill.” Here’s some excerpts:

Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, said he believes the majority of Coloradans support civil unions and oppose gays being treated unfairly.

Steadman, who is gay, said he expects his proposal to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, but he’s not sure what kind of reception the idea will get in the Republican-controlled House.

True on both counts, but One Colorado (our new statewide equality group) surveyed the state earlier this year and found a dramatic shift in Coloradans’ opinions on civil unions:

The [2010] poll results show that 72 percent of Coloradans support legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. This compares to 2006, when 48 percent of Colorado voters supported domestic partnership legislation for gay and lesbian couples.

But Steadman and One Coloardo have their work cut out for them since Republicans hold a slim majority in the House (we have a bicameral assembly). 

For strictly pragmatic reasons I’m hoping Steadman (who’s openly gay and represents the district I live in) will include a “religious protections” clause in our legislation as was recently used in Illinois.  Yes I know the First Amendment already provides these protections but from a publicity standpoint having the wording in the bill really helps diffuse religious hysteria and objection.   Here’s that section from the Illinois bill:

Section 102. Religious Freedom. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to interfere with or regulate religious practice of the many faiths in Illinois that grant the status, sacrament, and blessing of marriage under wholly separate religious rules, practices, or traditions of such faiths. Additionally, nothing in this Act shall be construed as to require any religious body, Indian Nation, Indian Tribe, Native Group, or officiant thereof to solemnize or officiate a civil union or to prohibit any religious body, Indian Nation, Indian Tribe, Native Group, or officiant thereof from solemnizing or officiating a civil union. Any religious body, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group or officiant thereof is free to choose whether or not to solemnize and whether or not to officiate civil unions.

I’ve already contacted Steadman to thank him and let him know the Illinois bill is a great model for bipartisanship,  his office contact info can be found here.

Comments

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Edwin
December 16th, 2010 | LINK

I live in Colorado so I hope that this goes through. We need this now!

Timothy Kincaid
December 16th, 2010 | LINK

Daniel,

I share your hope that a religious exemption clause is included. Sometimes it goes a long way just to acknowledge to religious people that you hear their concerns and are not dismissing them with “oh, that would never happen.”

Ryan
December 16th, 2010 | LINK

Nice! With Abercrombie taking over Hawaii next month, we could be looking at a Civil Union hat trick for the New Year.

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