Colorado Amendment 43, Definition of Marriage (2006)
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The "Definition of Marriage Act" amended the Colorado Constitution by adding a new section, Section 31, to Article II. Section 31 says, "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."
Amendment 43 was one of two statewide measures that Colorado voters faced in the November 2006 election that dealt with the definition of marriage and civil partnerships. The other, Referendum I, would have authorized domestic partnerships. (It failed.)
Text of measure
The short ballot title was:
The expanded ballot title provided to describe proposed Amendment 43 said:
- "An amendment to the Colorado constitution, concerning marriage, and, in connection therewith, specifying that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado."
Summary and analysis
The Colorado Legislative Council is charged with providing a summary and analysis of each measure on the Colorado ballot. ("The state constitution requires that the nonpartisan research staff of the General Assembly prepare these analyses and distribute them in a ballot information booklet to registered voter households.")
To describe Amendment 43, they said:
Definitions of marriage affecting Coloradans. Federal statutes define marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws relating to marital status. Colorado statutes define marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of the state's laws relating to marital status.
For a marriage to be valid under Colorado statutes, it must be: (1) between a man and a woman; and (2) licensed, solemnized, and registered according to established procedures. In addition, Colorado recognizes common law marriage between a man and a woman who live together and hold themselves out publicly as husband and wife. Common law marriages are treated exactly the same as licensed marriages.
Legal effects of marriage in Colorado. The marriage relationship in Colorado provides spouses with a number of legal rights, responsibilities, and benefits, including:
designated as a beneficiary;
- See also: Fiscal impact statement
The fiscal estimate provided by the Colorado Legislative Council said:
Amendment 43 is not expected to affect state and local revenues or spending. Costs that may result from potential legal challenges to the amendment cannot be estimated.
Groups supporting Amendment 43 included:
- The Colorado Family Action Issue Committee
- Coloradans for Marriage
Arguments in favor
Supporters argued that:
- "The public has an interest in preserving the commonly accepted definition of marriage. Marriage as an institution has historically consisted of one man and one woman and, as such, provides the optimal environment for creating, nurturing, and protecting children and preserving families."
- "A constitutional amendment is necessary to avoid court rulings that expand marriage beyond one man and one woman in Colorado. In Massachusetts, a statutory definition was not sufficient to prevent a court from requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages. Any change to the definition of marriage should be determined by the voters, not judges."
$1,376,486 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Amendment 43.
Significant donors included:
|Focus on the Family Action||$658,208|
|Focus on the Family||$388,496|
|Colorado Catholic Conference||$93,596|
Groups opposing the measure included:
- "Coloradans for Fairness"
- "Don't Mess with Marriage"
- The "Bell Ballot Action" group
Opponents argued that:
- "Language that limits marriage to opposite-sex couples does not belong in Colorado's Bill of Rights, which generally guarantees individual rights. Amendment 43 may be unconstitutional because it denies same-sex couples and their children the legal benefits and protections that are available to married couples and their children."
- "Adding the proposed language to the constitution is unnecessary because there is already a statutory ban in Colorado on any marriage that does not consist of one man and one woman. Additionally, federal statutes define marriage as between one man and one woman for purposes of federal laws."
$5,459,145 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Amendment 43. Since some of the committees that opposed Amendment 43 also played a role in other ballot measures on the 2006 Colorado ballot, it isn't possible to definitely know how much of the funds they raised went specifically to oppose Amendment 43.
Donors of $25,000 or more were:
|Gill Action Fund||$3,626,884|
|Jon L. Stryker||$550,000|
|Patricia A. Stryker||$250,000|
|Herbert M. and Marion O. Sandler||$50,000|
|Laws • History|
|List of measures|
- Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado
- Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures
- Colorado 2006 ballot measures
- List of Colorado ballot measures
- 2006 ballot measures
- Colorado Blue Book on Amendment 43
- History of Amendment 43
- November 7, 2006 ballot measure election results in Colorado
- Coloradans for Marriage
- Archbishop Chaput's statement on Amendment 43
- ↑ Amendment 43 and Referendum I -- Gay marriage and same sex parters' rights Denver Post, November 2, 2006
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2006 Colorado Blue Book, Arguments for and against Amendment 43
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Follow the Money, "Donors for and against Amendment 43"
- ↑ "Follow The Money" Report on Spending For and Against Colorado Amendment 43