Colorado House gives initial OK to same-sex benefits |

Colorado House gives initial OK to same-sex benefits

DENVER, Colorado ” The partners of gay and lesbian state workers would be able to get health insurance coverage under a bill given initial backing by the Colorado House.

The measure approved Friday would add domestic partners to the list of dependents eligible for coverage. Same-sex partners who have been in a committed relationship with a state employee for at least a year would qualify.

Supporters say gay couples don’t have the option of getting married and it’s only fair to provide an alternative.

“They can’t get married in the state of Colorado,” said Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Denver.

Opponents say it will be costly and it’s unfair to heterosexual couples who are committed but not married.

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“We are defining a new class of people. It’s only for same-sex couples in committed relationships,” said Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs.

Opponents also said it violates the will of the voters. Two years ago, voters rejected Referendum I, which would have granted domestic partner status to same-sex couples. They also passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

The Senate approved the bill in February. It faces a third reading in the House before it goes to the governor’s desk.

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