Contradictory gay proposals make Colorado ballot

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Two proposals regarding same-sex couples that appear to contradictory to each other have made their way onto Colorado’s November ballot.

According to Colorado’s Vail Daily, Referendum I proposes legalising domestic partnerships, which would confer a variety of rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples while amendment 43 would add a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “one man and one woman.”

Although the two appear to be in opposition, proponents of Referendum I told the Daily that the two can co-exist.

“It’s not about marriage,” said Pat Steadman, a Denver attorney working with the non-profit Coloradans for Fairness, which supports the referendum.

“It really sidesteps some of the controversy around that gay-marriage debate.”

But a Colorado candidate for Senate disagrees.

“It’s a little bit deceptive in the way (Referendum I) is worded. You can call it whatever you want. It’s still marriage,” Ron Tate of Bayfield, a Republican candidate for state senate, told the Durango Herald.

According to a recent article in the Rocky Mountain News, the greatest opposition to the referendum comes from people who, like Tate, say it conflicts with a religious belief that marriage should be defined as one man, one woman.

But Steadman says the measure is not about changing the definition of marriage.

According to the Herald, traditional marriage is among Tate’s top three or four issues as a candidate, because he believes a stable household with a mother and a father is best for children.

Tate’s opponent, incumbent Democrat Jim Isgar, said he supports Amendment 43.

The Herald reports that Amendment 43 would not change the current law in Colorado. It would amend the constitution to say that marriage is between one man and one woman.

In 2000, the Legislature passed a law to say exactly that. But if Amendment 43 passes, the definition could be changed only by another popular vote.

Jon Paul, leader of the pro-43 group Coloradans for Marriage, told the Herald a constitutional change is necessary to protect the definition from “activist judges.”

“In a couple of years, we are sure to see a redefinition of marriage, either in the courts or in the Legislature,” Paul said to the Herald. “Marriage has been around for centuries and thousands of years. Once you start to change that definition, you cheapen the institution of marriage.”

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