What Referendum I and Amendment 43 Mean

By: Katherine Cook
By: Katherine Cook

Referendum I and Amendment 43... 2 issues that deal with marriage and gay rights on the November ballot, both of which are igniting a firestorm of opinion. At the Yes On Referendum I headquarters, supporters like Maria DeCambra say their ballot issue is simple.
"We're just basic legal rights," said DeCambra.
Under it, same sex couples could sign a legal contract ensuring some of those rights. But opponents like Jim Pfaff of Focus On The Family, say Referendum I has the potential to blur the line between domestic partnership and marriage.
"If we start in Colorado law, calling same sex domestic partners a spouse, what's the difference between my wife and a domestic partner?" Said Pfaff. "In other words, you've just made an equivalency to marriage-- it's gay marriage."
DeCambra disagrees.
"Referenda I has nothing to do with marriage," said DeCambra.
And legally, she's right, which brings us to Amendment 43. If passed, 43 would constitutionalize the current state law defining marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman. But even if both pass, Amendment 43 would not negate Referendum I. Same sex couples would still get legal rights like hospital visitation and property inheritance. Rights Pfaff says same-sex couples already have.
"They can use a power of attorney as well as a will for transfer of estate," said Pfaff.
DeCambra says Referendum I would make it so same-sex couples would have those rights automatically.
"If something happens to your partner you wouldn't have to worry where your power of attorney is," said DeCambra.
So now it's up to voters to decide what's right in the battle over rights. If referendum I does pass, resulting domestic partnerships and their binding legal rights would only be recognized in Colorado.


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