Main | Friday, January 18, 2013

COLORADO: Civil Unions Bill To Be Heard By Senate Committee Next Week

On Wednesday the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on a proposed civil unions bill.
Senate Bill 11 would "authorize any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union." Last year, the Colorado House failed to vote on a civil union bill before the end of a special session of the legislature. This legislative session, democrats control the majority in the House and Senate. House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D - Denver) says he would like to have a civil unions bill on Governor Hickenlooper's desk by Valentine's Day but has acknowledge it may take more time to get the bill through both chambers.
Catholic Charities is already screaming about changes to this year's version of the bill. Via Catholic News Agency:
If the legislation passes this year, civil unions for two people of any sex would be legally equivalent to marriage under state law. The 2012 Colorado Senate bill proposing to create the unions had stated that the bill “shall not be interpreted to require a child placement agency to place a child for adoption” with a couple in a civil union. That language, however, is absent from the 2013 bill, S.B. 11.

Kraska said this change means the legislation has the potential for “serious conflict with religious liberty” regarding religious institutions involved in charitable services as well as adoption and foster care. Mark Rohlena, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, said if the bill passes it could threaten the religious liberty of agencies like his that decline to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples.

“We feel it would be a very sad commentary if Colorado forced religious institutions or those who believe in a different framework to do something against their conscience,” he told CNA Jan. 16. If Colorado law forces the Colorado Springs-based agency to violate Catholic teaching, he said, “we probably would cease the operation of our adoption programs.”

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