According to a new study, Colorado stands to add up to $5 million to its coffers over the next three years if the Legislature passes a bill that recognizes civil unions.
This week, Senator Pat Steadman, a Democrat from Denver, introduced legislation that would would grant same-sex couples the same abilities to share health insurance policies, visit each other in the hospital, and make medical decisions that heterosexual couples exercise under Colorado law.
Days after the announcement of Steadman's bill, UCLA's Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy released a study (PDF) showing that passage of the bill could save the state millions on state means-tested public benefit programs. It could also yield an increase in state license fees, and sales tax revenues.
"Civil unions would provide Colorado's same-sex and different-sex unmarried couples with some much-needed legal protections. Civil unions would also boost Colorado's economy from spending on celebrations, and that spending will increase the state's sales tax revenues," said M. V. Lee Badgett, research director of the Williams Institute.
Also, this week, Governor John Hickenlooper announced a plan to balance the state's budget by cutting $375 million from the K-12 education.
According to some projections, spending on weddings could top $50 million in 2011.
Recent polling shows some 70 percent of Coloradans support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples.
Nonetheless, Steadman's bill faces real challenges, particularly in the Republican-Controlled House.
Colorado would be the fourth state to adopt civil unions.