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Marriage Equality in Colorado – Part One: Marriage vs Civil Unions

The legal landscape for same-sex couples in Colorado is changing at a rapid rate. The recent whirlwind of activity places the relationship status of many same-sex couples in a state of legal uncertainty.

Colorado Gay Marriage Ban

In November 2006, the Colorado gay marriage ban was voted into law. The constitutional amendment, called the Colorado Definition of Marriage Initiative, was approved by 56% of Colorado voters. It defined marriage as only a union between one man and one woman.

Colorado Civil Unions

On May 1, 2013, the civil unions’ law took effect. Gay rights activists say that the civil unions’ law is a step in the right direction, but those civil unions still treat gays and lesbians as second class citizens. Civil unions are currently in effect in Colorado. Civil unions provide almost all of the same rights and benefits as marriage, such as taking leave to care for a partner, making medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, and adopting children together. In the event of a breakup, people in a civil union are afforded the protections and dignity of divorcing in the family court. If you were married in another state, or have a substantially similar relationship such as a domestic partnership, your relationship is recognized as a civil union in Colorado.

Civil unions are not recognized by the federal government. People in a civil union are not eligible for the benefits, rights, and protections provided on the basis of marital status in federal law such as those related to social security, taxes, immigration, and health insurance.

In our next segment, we’ll address the lawsuits and court rulings that have an impact on same-sex couples in Colorado.

If you have questions about how the current state of same-sex marriage relates to you, your relationship, or your kids, the family law attorneys at Modern Family Law are here to help. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

Posted September 15, 2014
by: MFL Team

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