Several years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was constitutionally protected in all 50 states, Colorado had already legalized marriages between same-sex couples. The court ruling opened up the door for same-sex couples all across the country to enjoy the benefits of marriage, including federal tax breaks, access to injured or ill loved ones in the hospital and even divorce. However, opponents of the ruling recently proposed ballot measures to limit same-sex marriages in Colorado.
Although both measures concern same-sex marriage, they both address concerns of the opponents, who appear to be a married, heterosexual couple. The first measure seeks to do away with same-sex marriage in Colorado completely, instead defining these partnerships as civil unions only. If passed, this measure would be retroactive, and redefine already-married same-sex couples as partners in a civil union. While civil unions do provide certain legal benefits and protections, in that aspect they do not measure up to what is afforded by marriage.
If passed, the second proposed measure would grant business owners in the wedding industry the right to openly discriminate against same-sex couples. Instead of providing their services, the measure would instead permit that a contractor be hired in their stead. To go even further, it would also require that the state of Colorado keep an up-to-date list of businesses that serve anyone regardless of their sexual orientation, with the logic being that businesses that disapprove of same-sex couples could use that list when contracting is necessary.
Taken at face value, these measures might seem overwhelming, but as of now, they are nothing more than proposals that require nearly 100,000 signatures to even make it onto the Colorado ballot. Even then, the Supreme Court ruling provides protection at the federal level for same-sex couples and their right to both marry and divorce, rights that cannot be abrogated at the state level. This ultimately means that should a same-sex couple decide that divorce is the most appropriate course of action, they can enjoy the same rights and protections during the process, including access to mediation and appearances before a judge.
Source: ABC News, “Gay Marriage Opponents Propose 2 Colorado Ballot Measures”, July 4, 2015