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Colo. Civil Unions Bill Introduced

Colo. Civil Unions Bill Introduced

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Colorado state senator Pat Steadman introduced his much-anticipated civil unions bill Monday.

Steadman had been talking about the bill for months, even wondering if he should sponsor it, as he took into account the criticism that civil unions, compared with marriage, are separate and unequal, according to The Colorado Independent."In the end, however, he said that the rights and responsibilities legally recognized civil unions conferred in everyday matters like medical care and inheritance were too vital to ignore," the publication reported.

Civil unions would bring the state's same-sex couples an array of rights, related to insurance, inheritance, family leave, hospital visitation, and other aspects of life. Polls show broad support for civil unions among Colorado residents.

Steadman's bill is likely to pass easily in the Democratic-controlled senate, the Independent reports, unless it is held up in committee. Rep. Mark Ferrandino plans to cosponsor the house version; the Democrats have only a one-seat edge in that chamber, but passage is considered likely there as well.

On Monday, Colorado residents supporting civil unions delivered legislators handwritten messages on construction-paper chains dubbed "links of love" for Valentine's Day. See video here.

Another piece of gay rights legislation was advanced by the Colorado senate judiciary committee Monday. This bill would allow victims of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, race, age, and other factors to collect compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorneys' fees, if they prove their case. Current state law allows them to receive only back and forward pay, interest on salary owed, and reinstatement or hire. The judiciary committee approved the measure in a party-line vote, Democrats for, Republicans against, and the senate appropriations committee will consider it next.

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