February 2, 2009 11:47 AM
The next battle in the gay-rights war
Rep. Mark Ferrandino, who already has signed on to sponsor a bill this year extending state employee benefits to same-sex partners, will introduce another measure this week that will stoke a battle between gay-rights proponents and opponents.
The new bill will make it easier for Coloradans to list unmarried partners - same-sex or opposite-sex - as designated beneficiaries for things such as worker's compensation or other types of payments.
People now can do this, but it costs them an average of $500 to $1,000 to draw up the contracts necessary to designate an unmarried partner to receive the benefits if they die, said Ferrandino, D-Denver. Simplifying the process now is important because people tend to do more estate planning during times of financial crisis, he said.
Still, Ferrandino, the only openly gay man in the legislature, has no doubts this will stoke emotional fires well beyond the issue of financial planning.
"Oh yeah, it'll be controversial," Ferrandino acknowledged Monday