Colorado State Senate considers civil unions bill Monday

Sun. March 6, 2011 11:29 PM by News Staff

Denver - A Colorado State Senate committee will hold a hearing on a civil unions bill on Monday, and religious leaders are lining up on both sides of the issue.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), who is gay.

"This bill is not about morality. It's not about religion. It's not about faith. It's about basic civil rights," Rabbi Joseph Black told the Colorado Independent.

The bill would require that people in civil unions be allowed to visit sick partners in hospitals, be included on their partner's health insurance plan, be allowed to adopt children together, and it would also give partners tax breaks that are currently limited to straight married couples.

Catholic leaders in Colorado have come out strongly against the bill, and point out that Colorado voters approved discrimination back in 2006 by passing a "marriage is only between one man and one woman" law.

"It does little good to protect marriage in our state constitution, on the one hand, and then legally recognize other unions, such as civil unions, that compete with it for equality," said Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in a statement. "Civil unions may attempt to mirror the marital relationship, but they lack the essential qualities of marriage. Marriage has long been recognized as a lifelong relationship between one man and one woman that exists for the benefit of children and the protection of women."