The bill creates the "Colorado Civil Union Act" (Act) to authorize any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union.
Parties wanting to enter into a civil union apply to a county clerk and recorder for a civil union license. Certain persons may certify a civil union. After the civil union is certified, the officiant files the civil union certificate with the county clerk and recorder. A priest, minister, rabbi, or other official of a religious institution or denomination or an Indian nation or tribe is not required to certify a civil union in violation of his or her right to free exercise of religion. The criteria for a valid civil union are set forth in the bill.
The executive director of the department of public health and environment and the state registrar of vital statistics shall issue forms necessary to implement the Act. Each county clerk and recorder submits records of registered civil unions to the office of vital statistics. A county clerk and recorder collects a fee for a civil union license, which fee is credited to the vital statistics records cash fund. The state registrar of vital statistics is authorized to set and collect an additional fee for verification of civil unions, which fee is credited to the vital statistics records cash fund. A county clerk and recorder collects a $20 fee to be credited to the Colorado domestic abuse program fund.
The legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted under the law to spouses apply in like manner to parties to a civil union, including the following:
- Responsibility for financial support of a party to a civilunion;
- Rights and abilities concerning transfer of real or personalproperty to a party in a civil union;
- The ability to file a claim based on wrongful death,emotional distress, loss of consortium, dramshop, or other laws, whether common law or statutory, related to or dependent upon spousal status;
- Prohibitions against discrimination based upon spousalstatus;
- The ability to inherit real and personal property from aparty in a civil union under the probate code;
- Priority for appointment as a conservator, guardian, orpersonal representative;
- Survivor benefits under and inclusion in workers'compensation laws;
- The ability to adopt a child of a party to a civil union;
- The ability to insure a party to a civil union under groupbenefit plans for state employees;
- The ability to designate a party in a civil union as abeneficiary under the state public employees retirement system;
- Survivor benefits under local government firefighter andpolice pensions;
- Protections and coverage under domestic abuse anddomestic violence laws;
- Rights and protections under victims' compensation lawsand victims and witness protection laws;
- Laws, policies, or procedures relating to emergency and-2- SB12-00