According to the Denver Post , this year's version of a Colorado civil unions bill is set to be heard on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. by the state senate Judiciary Committee. After a dramatic conclusion to last year's legislative session, where a proposed civil unions bill died on the floor of the GOP-controlled house, this year's bill is expected to pass. If it does, what rights will the law grant to citizens of Colorado? Here is a list.
* According to Senate Bill 11, the Colorado Civil Union Act, to take effect May 1, 2013, with the exception of some provisions regarding home ownership and insurance benefits, would authorize any 2 unmarried adults -- regardless of gender -- to enter into a civil union by applying to a county clerk and recorder for a civil union license.
* Though dissolving a civil union will follow the same process as that provided in the law for a dissolution of a marriage, the bill points out that a civil union is not to be construed as a marriage and is, therefore, not a violation of state law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
* Senate Bill 11 states that those entering civil unions will have responsibility for financial support of a party and the rights and abilities to transfer real or personal property and to file claims related to spousal status such as wrongful death and emotional distress.
* Parties to civil unions will be entitled to survivor benefits and inclusion in workers' compensation laws and the partner in a civil union will be treated as a family member or spouse regarding state unemployment benefits. The parties may also name one another as dependents for health and life insurance policies and will have the right to claim a homestead exemption on taxes.
* The act does not, however, provide for the joint filing of a state tax return by parties of a civil union until such time as a statutory change is enacted to authorize it.
* The bill would provide parties with the ability to adopt a partner's child, to insure the other party of the union under group benefit plans for state employees and to receive benefits under the public employees' retirement system and the government police and firefighter pensions.
* Partners of civil unions, according to the bill, will be provided rights and protections under domestic violence laws, victims compensation and witness protection laws.
* The Colorado Civil Union Act would provide parties the right to visit one another in jail, in mental health facilities and in hospitals. A party of a civil union will have the right to file a complaint on behalf of his or her partner about the care or treatment received in a nursing home, as well as to be medical decision-makers and to determine the disposition of the last remains.
* According to the Denver Post, one thing that this year's bill does not include that was included in last year's is the exemption for adoption agencies -- including Catholic adoption and foster agencies -- from placing children with same sex couples. According to bill sponsor, Sen. Pat Steadman, the Catholic Church didn't like the bill when it had the exemption and "there's no pleasing them."
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- Civil Rights