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U.S. Supreme Court ruling could impact Colorado laws

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on a California gay marriage ban could seriously impact recently passed Colorado legislation that permits same-sex couples the legal right to form civil unions. The highest court in the land heard arguments on March 25 and 26 from supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 in California that prohibits the marriage of same-sex partners. A Colorado law has banned gay marriage since 2006 even as DOMA stops the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

The state legislature navigated around the issue by voting in civil unions instead. While they admit that it is not the same as full acceptance of same-sex marriage, it gives same-sex couples some legal protection. However, the Supreme Court could decide that Colorado and eight other states that make a distinction between civil unions and marriage have unfair laws.

A recent Colorado poll shows that more than 50 percent of voters approve of gay marriage in the state. In 2006, about 55 percent of voters in the state wanted to ban it. One man attributes the shift to more people knowing homosexuals personally. President Barack Obama has also changed his position on gay marriage in the last four years.

One lesbian woman who is a law professor emphasized her belief in the right of everyone to marry. She plans to marry her partner later this year in Massachusetts. In Colorado, their marital status will not be recognized.

The laws on civil unions and same-sex marriage continue to change, and they might have an in increase in public attention in the future. Nontraditonal family lawyers in Colorado may be able to provide counsel to same-sex partners who are dealing with legal matters.

Source: WLFI, "Gay marriage ruling could bolster Colorado's new civil-unions law," Allison Sherry, March 24, 2013

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