Colorado House tentatively OKs gay-rights bill |

Colorado House tentatively OKs gay-rights bill

DENVER, Colorado ” A bill making it easier for gays and lesbians to leave property to their partners and visit each other in the hospital won tentative approval from the state House on Friday, over objections from opponents who said it was an attempt to establish civil unions.

The measure would allow any two unmarried people to make each other their designated beneficiaries.

Rep. Bob Gardner, a Republican from Colorado Springs, strongly opposed the bill. He called it an attempt to circumvent voters who have already rejected civil unions and defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Gardner also opposed a portion of the bill that would allow it to become law immediately on July 1 and bar voter from challenging the measure.

“We ought to give people an opportunity to refer the measure to the ballot,” Gardner told the House.

Rep. Mark Ferrandino, a Denver Democrat who is openly gay, said the bill is meant to give gays and lesbians, older people and low-income people a range of rights, including hospital visitations, making funeral arrangements and inheriting property when there’s no will.

He said it falls far short of the rights given married couples, including the right of dissolution.

“This bill will do a lot to help the people of Colorado, people of low income, and, yes, the lesbian and gay people of the state,” Ferrandino said.

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