Domestic partnership called ‘baby step’ |

Domestic partnership called ‘baby step’

Colleen Slevin

DENVER (AP) ” George Guzman supports Referendum I even though some of its language irks him.

The ballot proposal that allows same-sex couples to get many of the same rights as married couples under Colorado law allows religious adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples. It also says marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

“It’s not about us as people. It’s about us as homosexuals and that’s discrimination,” Guzman, 39, said following a debate Monday in Denver.

Despite those objections, he’s decided to support the domestic partnership proposal largely because it would give more gay people the security and freedom of being covered by their partner’s health insurance.

He said he was able to leave his job at Qwest to go back to Metro State, knowing he would still be covered by his partner’s health insurance from the telecommunications company.

All companies who offer insurance would be required to extend benefits to the domestic partners of their employees.

During the debate, Pat Steadman, a lobbyist who helped write Referendum I, said it was a common sense solution that addresses the fact that gay couples are living together and raising children.

“Domestic partnerships are a way to be fair to same-sex couples and to get away from that debate about what marriage is,” Steadman told a group of about 40 people, mostly students, on the Auraria campus.

Jim Pfaff, a Focus on the Family analyst who’s heading a campaign to fight Referendum I and pass Amendment 43, said Colorado’s proposal would essentially be marriage by a different name, making spouses and domestic partners equal under state law.

He said marriage has already been eroded as an institution over the last 40 years partly because of no-fault divorce laws and shouldn’t be chipped away at anymore.

“If we make marriage mean anything it all of a sudden means nothing,” he said.

Both Steadman and Pfaff argued their side would help children.

Steadman said gay parents are only able to adopt as singles, not as a couple, which doesn’t ensure that children will get child support if there is a breakup or be covered by workman’s compensation insurance if one of the parents dies on the job.

Pfaff said children do best when raised with both a mother and a father.

“Marriage is not about the wants and needs of adults,” he said. “It’s about children and the raising of children.”

Metro State student Tory Lipsey, 20, said marriage wasn’t just about children, it’s about the commitment of two people.

Lipsey, a bisexual who said he grew up in strict Christian church, said he sees the debate as a religious one.

He thinks same-sex couples should have their rights protected as domestic partners but said he’s not in favor of gay marriage because he sees marriage as a religious institution and knows that many religious people object to it.

“It’s keeping their lives secure,” Lipsey said of Referendum I. “It’s not marriage.”

Guzman said he still hopes that those who may end up benefiting from Referendum I may push for more rights someday, such as the right to collect a partner’s Social Security or file joint tax returns under federal law.

“Maybe those baby steps are necessary,” he said.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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