But much shorter this time, the Colorado legislature recently considered a "reciprocal benefits" law. Rather than create a status such as "domestic partner," it would authorize the entry into a single agreement by which two unrelated persons who cannot marry are able to grant each other certain rights. The law, in part, provides:
[A]ny two unmarried persons who are excluded from entering into a valid marriage under the laws of [Colorado] or who are or were related by blood, adoption or marriage, and who meet specified requirements, to establish a reciprocal beneficiary agreement that extends specific rights and related responsibilities to each reciprocal beneficiary … including, but not limited to, health care insurance benefits.
A summary of the bill by Concerned Women for America, who opposes it, can be found here. Apparently, employers would not have to recognize a reciprocal benefits agreement, but would be free to do so. An reciprocal benefits agreement could be terminated by either party. I don't know that the bill is going anywhere in Colorado because it has been defeated in committee.
I have to admit being a bit surprised to learn that the bill is supported by Focus on the Family and, apparently, by the Alliance Defense Fund, two organizations staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships.
Is this a solution? I suppose the argument in its favor is that, because it deesn't create same-sex marriage or (arguably) a marriage-like "status," it does not create the potential dangers to marriage that I have discussed elsewhere.
Advocates of same-sex marriage oppose it, at least in part because it does not confer the symbolic affirmation that the extension of marriage to same sex couples would.
Would it be consistent with the "second sentence" of the proposed Wisconsin amendment? Its conservative proponents, who are also supporting similarly worded amendments, think so.