HRC Blog

Colorado Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill

Today, the Colorado Senate passed a comprehensive civil unions bill by a 23 to 12 vote, and now moves to the House of Representatives.

SB 127, introduced by Senator Pat Steadman, would allow both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions giving couples all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage under state law, but would not allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

Currently, five states have laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for same-sex couples, without offering marriage.  California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington provide same-sex couples with access to almost of all the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Earlier this year, the governors of Hawaii and Illinois signed into law civil unions bills. Couples in Illinois can begin applying for civil union licenses on June 1, 2011 and in Hawaii couples can begin applying on Jan. 1, 2012.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.  For an electronic map showing relationship recognition in the states, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws.

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