Colorado Domestic Partnerships, Referendum I (2006)
The official ballot question read:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado revised statutes to authorize domestic partnerships, and, in connection therewith, enacting the "Colorado Domestic Partnership Benefits and Responsibilities Act" to extend to same-sex couples in a domestic partnership the benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted by Colorado law to spouses, providing the conditions under which a license for a domestic partnership may be issued and the criteria under which a domestic partnership may be dissolved, making provisions for implementation of the act, and providing that a domestic partnership is not a marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman?
Three groups supported the referendum: Coloradans for Fairness Issue Committee, which spent $5,107,495 advocating for the measure, the Bell Ballot Action group, which spent $5,000, and People for the American Way Voters Alliance of Colorado.
Supporters argued that committed same-sex couples deserve access to the legal protections, responsibilities, and benefits automatically granted to married couples—many of which cannot be accessed through legal documents. Referendum I provides these legal protections while making no change to the legal status of marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman.
Supporters also clained that establishing legal standards of responsibility and a framework for resolving disputes for same-sex couples is in the state's interest. By holding same-sex couples accountable for legal commitments made in raising children, incurring debt, and owning property, domestic partnerships benefit individuals, their families, and the broader community.
In opposition, the Colorado Family Action Issue Committee spent $1,027,777.
Opponents argued that domestic partnerships diminish the significance of marriage for society by reducing marriage to a list of benefits and responsibilities. The benefits given to married couples, they said, are intended to support child rearing by one man and one woman. The state has an interest in restricting recognition and legal protection to these married couples to provide stability for the individuals, their families, and the broader community.
Opponents argued that domestic partnerships unfairly extend benefits to same-sex couples that are not extended to any other two unmarried people. In addition, they said, any of the rights and responsibilities of married couples are already available to any two people willing to make a will, assign power of attorney, or enter into contracts.
Donors to the campaign for the measure:
- Coloradans for Fairness Issue Committee: $5,107,495
- Bell Ballot Action: $5,000
- People for the American Way Voters Allliance of CO: $100
- Total: $5,112,595
Donors to the campaign against the measure:
- Colorado Family Action Issue Committee: 1,027,777
- Total: $1,027,777
- Overall Total: $6,140,372
- Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures
- Colorado 2006 ballot measures
- List of Colorado ballot measures
- 2006 ballot measures
- Colorado Blue Book on Referendum I
- History of Referendum I
- November 7, 2006 ballot measure election results in Colorado