Colorado Could Face Four Ballot Measures

Here in Wisconsin, persuading a majority of citizens to vote “No” on the ban at the ballot box is no small task. But at least we have only one measure on the ballot.

In Colorado voters could decide on not one—but four—measures affecting gay and lesbian families. Three are proposed constitutional amendments, and one is a statute under consideration by the legislature. Each measure requires 68,000 voter signatures to get on the ballot.

This article sums up what Colorado is facing, and the website for Coloradans for Fairness and Equality previews the ads the equal rights organization is running. But in a nutshell, here are the proposals:
  1. A constitutional amendment that says “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state,” which is similar wording to the first sentence of our ban.
  2. A constitutional amendment that would prohibit the state from creating any legal status similar to marriage for same-sex couples. Basically, this is the second sentence of our ban-- one that would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships.
  3. A constitutional amendment that would make same-sex domestic partnerships “a unique an valued relationship” that is not similar to marriage. Coloradans for Fairness and Equality proposed this to counter the ban on anything “similar to marriage.”
  4. And finally, a house bill that would allow the state to register domestic partnerships. If passed, this bill would allow certain rights, responsibilities, and benefits to same-sex couples such as the right to inherit property from a partner and make medical decisions.



At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

I like the fact that these 4 are on the ballot together in Colorado, because it makes the voter confront the true consequences of each option, and even gives them options. The problem with the Wisconsin ballot is our lack of choices. We are a state where most folks are in favor of unions and against marriage. In fact, as we have noted before, there is a swing 14% of the electorate who support BOTH banning unions and offering unions. Colorado's confusion actually makes things less confusing!

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

Meanwhile, what are our plans if the amendment passes and goes into effect? Wisconsin Legislative Counsel assures us that nothing changes and civil unions could proceed, but the second sentence is sure to be interpreted strictly by activist judges.

There is a bill sitting in committee in Madison to give civil unions. Will we try that? Why not try it now? Anything to get people talking and weighing options and consequences!

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Todd said...

Keith, The legislative council memo, which is biased anyways, says nothing of the sort. They only conclude that private, d.p. benefits programs would not likely be threatened. The memo is meaningless anyways and would have no bearing on future lawsuits.

There's no doubt that the ban bans civil unions. None at all. Civil unions were created by the Vermont legislature to be "substantially similar" to marriage. That's why they still only exist in two states, VT and CT. And that's why even California's relatively comprehensive program is called a "domestic partnership" program; it doesn't rise to the level of civil union.


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