Partners protection bill advances in Colorado Legislature

Posted on 18 Feb 2009 at 10:15am
By Steven K. Paulson Associated Press

Measure would allow any 2 unmarried people to sign up to be the other’s designated beneficiary

DENVER — A bill making it easier for gays and lesbians to leave property to their partners and visit each other in the hospital is closer to approval in the Colorado Legislature.

The measure was approved by the House Judiciary Committee Monday, Feb. 16 and sent to the full House for debate.

It would allow any two unmarried people to sign up to be the other’s designated beneficiaries.

Rep. Bob Gardner, a Republican from Colorado Springs, strongly opposed the bill, calling it an attempt to circumvent Colorado voters, who rejected civil unions and defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

"This is a de facto civil union bill," Gardner told the committee.

Rep. Mark Ferrandino, a Denver Democrat who is openly gay, rejected that suggestion, telling the committee, "voters have taken the ability of same-sex marriage away from us."

"We are basically giving them rights, no more rights than anyone else in Colorado," Ferrandino said.

Under the bill, beneficiaries would get a range of rights, including hospital visitations. Others include being able to decide funeral arrangements and inheriting property when there’s no will.

It’s backed by Equal Rights Colorado, a gay and lesbian advocacy group. Supporters say it would also help senior citizens who don’t marry for financial reasons and people who can’t afford a lawyer to do estate planning.

On the Net: Read House Bill 1260: http://www.leg.state.co.us

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