Civil Unions Return to the Spotlight

January 31 2011, 2:00 PM

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has added his signature to a legal brief supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of granting federal benefits. DOMA also allows states to reject definitions of marriage as passed by other states, which is the reason Suthers signed on, his spokesman tells the Denver Post, citing Amendment 43, the measure that defines marriage as between a man and a woman in the Colorado Constitution. The move has unsurprisingly angered GLBT activists, with the Human Rights Campaign and One Colorado criticizing Suthers as out of touch.

One local lawmaker is stepping up to change the state's institutionalized opinion. State Senator Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat, plans to introduce legislation that would permit civil unions for gay and lesbian couples (via 9News). "This is something that I think is overdue, something that will protect families and will make our laws a little bit more fair and a little bit more inclusive so that everyone has the same opportunity to have economic security and stability in their family relationship," he says. But opponents, like Broomfield Senator Shawn Mitchell, a Republican, say the matter is one for voters to decide, not state legislators.

The editorial board of Boulder's Daily Camera supports civil unions, citing a 2010 poll by Greenberg Quinlan Roster Research and American Viewpoint that found 72 percent of Coloradans in support of legal recognition for gay couples. Indeed, the Gayzette blog reports One Colorado has identified more than 500,000 allies in the state so far.