Civil Unions Passed in Colorado, Awaiting House Vote

All over the world today, an ever debated topic is same-sex marriage.  I am very passionate about this topic. My brother, and best friend, is gay. I also have a plethora of close friends and acquaintances who are gay and I strongly support their right to not only marry the one they love, just as I hope to do one day, but also be granted the same legal rights and responsibilities I will be given when I get married. In this blog, and a few coming up, I’m going to blog about topics regarding same-sex civil unions and marriages across the United States, Colorado and the world, recognition of marriages (same-sex and opposite-sex) performed outside of the United States, and how to support marriage equality for everyone.

Is a same-sex marriage legal in Colorado?

Colorado Senate passed the Colorado Civil Union Act in February. YAY!! The Colorado Civil Union Act grants committed same-sex couples with some, not all, legal protections and responsibilities as a marriage. Now, the bill still needs to pass through the full house, which is scheduled to take place March 11, 2013. It is expected to be passed! Woo-hoo!!

What is considered a civil union in our majestic state of Colorado? 

The definition of a civil union varies between states. Some states grant majority of the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage, where other states grant very little in comparison.  The Colorado Civil Union Act gives persons in a civil union the ability to take family leave to care for their spouse, insure a spouse under group benefit plans, make medical and end-of-life decisions for their spouse, the choice to adopt children together, among others.  To read exactly what protections, responsibilities, and legal benefits the bill provides, check it out here (there is a summary before the bill so you won’t need a law degree to cipher the hieroglyphs referred to as legal jargon ;-).  This is a huge step for Colorado LGBT couples in their fight towards equality, and I am super duper excited about it! I can’t wait for there to be full marriage benefits, protections, and responsibilities recognized for any couple, regardless of gender, who love each other and want to make the marriage commitment!

So, what is the difference between a civil union and a marriage?

With focusing on Colorado, there are multiple differences between a civil union and a marriage. The majority of the differences lie in the distinction between federal law and state law. One difference is that in a civil union, once you cross Colorado state lines into another state, it is no longer recognized. Similarly, in regards to states where same-sex marriage is legal, because a heterosexual marriage is recognized nationally and even internationally, a same-sex marriage (as of now) is recognized in the state it is legally performed and a few states that recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

Another variance, come tax season, is when filing federal taxes you must file as a single if you are in a civil union, where married couples file jointly.  These are just two of many other differences that are hopefully to be under review soon when DOMA is looked over.

I hope this was a helpful tid-bit of information for you! Again, this is something I am passionate about, and I look forward to the day when everyone can marry the person they love, regardless of gender, and the world will recognize and respect that marriage. Until next time! 🙂  -Veronica