Observers said a Colorado bill endorsed by James Dobson partly as a way to head off civil-union benefits for homosexual couples is all but dead.

Three state Democrats on February 27 voted against the measure in a Senate committee, harming its chances of being brought up again. However, the state chapter of the Christian Coalition and an anti-gay organization also opposed the legislation.

The Senate bill would have made it easier for all unmarried couples living in the same household to obtain a variety of benefits, such as visiting a loved one in a hospital, transferring property, and securing health-care coverage.

Gay-rights organizations, though expressing neutrality toward the bill, are fighting for a more expansive proposal. Funded largely by Tim Gill, founder of Quark Inc., the maker of page-layout software, they support a domestic partnership benefits measure in the Colorado House of Representatives.

The House bill would allow homosexual couples to adopt a partner's children, file a wrongful-death claim for a partner, and inherit a partner's property. If approved by the General Assembly, the measure would go before state voters in November.

In response, Dobson, founder and chairman of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, backed the Senate bill, calling it a "common-sense alternative" to civil unions.

Jim Pfaff, state policy analyst for Focus, said "there were some state Democrats we thought could be peeled off" to forestall the domestic partnership bill.

Dobson's endorsement was denounced by Paul Cameron, founder of the Family Research Institute. Cameron referred to the bill as "gay marriage-lite" and urged Dobson to "reconsider his gay rights positions."

Dobson's stance appeared to have support from fellow evangelicals. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.