FAQs About Civil Unions in Colorado

Wondering if you should support civil unions in Colorado? Interested to know how civil unions will affect bisexual and transgender Coloradans? Confused about what civil unions will really do? Get the answers to all of your questions and find out how you can get involved to make civil unions a reality in Colorado!

What is a civil union?
A civil union is a form of state-level relationship recognition that provides same-sex couples with critical legal protections typically only extended to married couples. In other states, these protections often include access to medical care information and decision making, ability to arrange proceedings related to partner’s death, right to be placed in the same room in a nursing home, access to health care coverage, inheritance without a will, ability to change names, and more.

Why should I support civil unions?
All across the state, committed same-sex couples in Colorado are doing the hard work of building strong families, with the average couple being together for nearly ten years. These couples need the legal protections that civil unions provide as they face the worries of everyday life, like making ends meet, losing their job, or being denied health insurance. Civil unions will expand the recognition given to same-sex relationships so that committed couples can be responsible for one another.

What do civil unions mean for bisexual and transgender people?
If passed, civil unions will provide committed same-sex couples with the critical legal protections they need to take care of and be responsible for one another. Bisexual and transgender Coloradans who are in same-sex relationships will have the same access to civil unions as gay or lesbian people. Bisexual and transgender Coloradans who are in opposite-sex relationships will have access to either a civil union or a traditional marriage.

Why are we trying to pass civil unions instead of marriage?
The path to marriage equality in Colorado is difficult. Unlike the states that have achieved marriage equality, our state constitution contains an amendment that bans marriage for same-sex couples. Until this amendment is overturned in the courts or by a ballot vote of Colorado voters, full marriage equality is not possible in Colorado. One Colorado supports full marriage equality, but we believe that same-sex couples need the protections that civil unions provide right now.

What are the differences between civil unions and designated beneficiaries?
Civil unions would provide comprehensive protections to same-sex couples. Designated beneficiary agreements offer a patchwork of security but do not provide same-sex couples with all of the responsibilities and rights given to married couples.

Is there public support for civil unions?
In recent years, as more and more Coloradans realize the importance of providing the security of a state- recognized relationship to all couples, public opinion has changed dramatically. According to a poll by Greenberg Quilan Rosner in January 2010, 72% of Coloradan voters support legal recognition for same-sex couples. Additionally, five states and Washington, DC now offer full marriage equality, and with the addition of Illinois, six states will offer comprehensive state-level recognition like civil unions or domestic partnerships.

How will civil unions impact houses of worship?
Churches and other houses of worship will not be impacted by civil unions as they are a legal, civil institution of the state. Churches will not be required to perform or be involved in civil unions unless they choose to do so.

Will traditional marriage be affected if civil unions are enacted?
No, our state consitution defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Civil unions provide committed same-sex couples with critical legal protections that they need to take care of and be responsible for each other. Civil unions will not impact traditional marriage in any way.

How can I get involved?
To achieve civil unions, we need the help of all fair-minded Coloradans. Get trained to be a media spokesperson. Attend our Lobby Day. Share your story. Contact your legislators. Volunteer. Donate. You can make a difference.