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lawmakers give preliminary OK to DP bill

lawmakers give preliminary OK to DP bill

Colorado took another big step toward recognizing domestic partnerships Wednesday as the state senate gave preliminary approval to a bill creating partnerships for same-sex couples with many of the legal protections of marriage. Pro-gay Democrats control both the state senate and house.

But Colorado has a conservative Republican governor, who would be likely to veto a domestic-partnership law. To eliminate that possibility, the proposal was crafted as a referred measure, meaning it would skip the governor and go before voters in the fall.

The bill has provisions that specifically say that it is not marriage, but it also uses the word spouse and gives all protections available in state law to same-sex couples. Conservatives say it's too much like marriage, but Democrats counter that it deals only with the civil aspects of life partnerships, not the religious ones.

Sen. Jennifer Veiga, the only openly gay member of the Colorado general assembly, says that it is easy to see the difference. "Don't kid yourselves that this is anywhere close to the institution of marriage," she said. "It is not, and I would suggest to any one of you who can marry that you would not in any day of your life trade your ability to marry for the ability to get a domestic-partnership certificate. You would not."

The measure still needs to pass the senate on a second vote, which could happen as early as Thursday. It then needs to go back to the state house for approval of changes made in the senate. If it passes both of those votes, it would not need any further work to be placed on the November ballot.

The domestic-partnership measure is likely to be on the ballot with two opposing measures. One would ban same-sex marriage, and the other would also prohibit domestic partnerships such as those in Wednesday's bill. (Sirius OutQ News)

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