02 May 2007

Which States Have Civil Unions?

Oregon joins California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont in extending all of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. Hawaii, Maine, Washington state, and D.C, grant legal recognition and some of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

From here.

In the 2006 general election in Colorado, a domestic partnerships proposal (Referendum I) won 47.65% of the vote, which obviously wasn't enough to pass, but was also a big step forward from previous popular votes on gay rights issues in the state. A narrow marriage is between a man and a woman proposal (Amendment 43), that did not ban domestic partnerships, passed with 55.02% of the vote in the same election.

County by county results on Referendum I show that it had overwhelming support in Boulder, Denver and most resort dominated counties. But, most of rural Colorado and Colorado Springs overwhelmingly opposed the measure. Opinion was quite evenly divided in suburban Denver metropolitian area counties.

The political upshot of this outcome is that Democrats have taken some basic steps in 2007 to protect gay rights (like employment discrimination protection and second parent adoption), but have not pushed for full domestic partnership rights, as Colorado voters have expressed their will on that issue for now.

Richard Florida argues in his book on the "Creative Class" that being gay friendly is strongly linked to local economic prosperity. Recent news from Colorado seems to support that view. Gay unfriendly rural Colorado (particularly places within anti-gay Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave's 4th Congressional District) are seeing real estate values collapse by 8% this year, while the Denver metropolitan area has seen only a 1.9% drop, with gay friendly Boulder actually posting a slight increase in real estate values.

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