Action at the State Level on National Position

POSITION: (Adopted 1966, rev. 1989, 1992, 2010)

LWVUS believes that the federal government shares with other levels of government the responsibility to provide equality of opportunity for education, employment and housing for all persons in the United States regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability. LWVUS supports: efforts to prevent and/or remove discrimination; equal rights for all under state and federal law; and legislation to equalize the legal rights, obligations, and benefits available to same-gender couples with those available to heterosexual couples.

HISTORY

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, numerous bills failed that would have supported and extended legal protections from hate crimes and employment discrimination to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals (GLBT). Other failing bills, also supported by the League, included small group insurance plans that would have covered domestic partnerships.

In 2004 LWVCO supported failed bills that would have allowed same gender couples to form civil unions and to adopt children.

In 2007 a bill extending legal protections from discrimination to GLBT citizens passed both houses and was signed into law by the Governor. League supported this bill as well as a successful bill that extended adoption and parenting rights to same sex couples.

In 2008 LWVCO supported a successful bill that added 23 areas where discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited, including public housing and accommodation, consumer credit, charter school enrollment and adequate hospital facilities. LWVCO also supported a bill that made it an unfair labor practice to penalize employees who discuss or disclose wages.

Legislation supported by LWVCO in 2009 to extend compensation benefits to domestic partners of state employees failed. Another bill provided for a Designated Beneficiaries Agreement to allow simple estate and end-of-life provisions without a will. It passed with LWVCO support.

In 2010 a LWVCO-supported Pay Equity Commission passed. The ultimate goal of the commission was to establish Colorado as a model employer with regard to pay equity, through education, outreach and study of other state models, while providing reports and updates.

The major public policy initiative in the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions was an act allowing any couple, same or opposite gender, to form a civil union. League strongly supported civil unions. After failing to come to a floor vote in the House in both regular and special session in 2012, the bill was passed in 2013.

In 2015 the League supported a failed bill to reestablish the Pay Equity Commission, which was set to sunset on July 1, 2015. The commission has had several accomplishments and some failures due to a lack of leadership and funding. The 2015 bill called for few changes except some funding from gifts, grants and donations and an amendment to change the way the commissioners were appointed.