Two of the ballot proposals receiving a lot of attention this November deal with marriage and domestic partnerships: Amendement 43 and Referendum I. If passed, Amendment 43 would amend the State Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Proponents argue that this amendment is necessary to preserve traditional marriage, while opponents argue that this is already a statutory law and does not belong in the Constitution. Referendum I does not deal with marriage per se, but establishes legal domestic partnerships whereby same-sex couples can, when legally registered, receive many of the same basic rights heterosexual married couples are allowed, particularly in areas of medical decisions, legal documents, property, and child support. While proponents of Referendum I argue for these basic rights, opponents argue that this proposal is a step toward same-sex marriage and gives same-sex couples more rights than any two other unmarried people such as heterosexual non-married couples.
For a full analysis of the pros and cons of Amendment 43 and Referendum I, see the Colorado Blue Book published by non-partisan staff of the Colorado Legislative Council, and see also the Legislative Council’s Issue Brief, Marriage and Same-Sex Unions.