[JURIST] The Colorado House of Representatives [official website] voted 39-26 Tuesday in favor of a bill to legalize civil unions [SB13-011, PDF] for same-sex couples. The legislation explicitly provides same-sex couples with many of the benefits held by married couples, including dependent insurance coverage and the ability to adopt a partner's child. It goes on to provide that "all legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses ... apply in like manner to parties in a civil union." Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper [official website] is expected to sign the bill into law. A similar bill passed in the Colorado Senate [JURIST report] in 2011 but was ultimately defeated in the House [Reuters report].
Issues surrounding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] remain controversial throughout the US. Later this month, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases related to same-sex marriage. In Hollingsworth v. Perry [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will examine the validity of Proposition 8 [JURIST news archive], a California referendum that revoked same-sex marriage rights. In United States v. Windsor [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will examine the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive]. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in nine US states, as well as the District of Columbia. Last month the Illinois senate approved [JURIST report] same-sex marriage legislation. In January the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a similar bill [JURIST report].