Domestic Partnerships – A new era of rights and responsibilities for the gay and lesbian community began March 21, 2013 after the Colorado Civil Union Act was signed into law recognizing same sex domestic partnerships. In Colorado, same sex marriages are still banned by Amendment 43, however he Colorado Civil Union Act signed by Governor Hickenlooper restores many of the rights that heterosexual married couples enjoy.
Civil unions will provide a State recognized relationship covering many legal protections including issues relating to health care, family law, probate and other areas in Domestic Partnerships.
In most respects, the new civil union laws treat civil union-partners like married persons. The Colorado Civil Union Act provides:
A party to a civil union has the rights, benefits, protections, duties, obligations, responsibilities, and other incidents under law as are granted to or opposed upon spouses.
Ironically, one of the benefits of the new law is that it establishes the framework for termination the civil union. Generally, a civil union can be dissolved with the same types of provisions under Colorado law in which married couples would divorce, including splitting assets, best interest of children and possible maintenance (alimony) awards. For the most part, all laws that relate to dissolution of marriage and child custody are now applied to civil unions as well.
The property of a LGBT couple who have entered into a civil union can now be divided by the couple or by the Courts. Couples who enter into a civil union are under parallel laws to those of married heterosexual couples.
The Colorado Civil Union Act provides inheritance rights for couples and will be treated the same as a spouse under the inheritance laws of the State.
Civil unions also grant property rights such as the ability to pass on a homestead exemption to a partner.
Colorado will join with eight states that have civil unions or similar laws. Nine other states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.