A bill that expands the rights of same sex and unmarried couples in Colorado was signed yesterday by Governor Bill Ritter. The legislation (see PDF) allows for individuals to legally identify a ‘designated beneficiary’ with many of the rights and privileges of a married spouse, including the right to inherit property, to act as a medical proxy, to be designated as a beneficiary in retirement plans and pensions, and to visitation in a hospital or other medical facility.
The bill was signed with little notice from the governor’s office. A spokesman for the governor said Ritter saw the bill as a “low-cost option for people to put their end-of-life matters in order,” according to the Denver Post.
Equal Rights Colorado spokeswoman Mindy Barton said “We are excited that this new, low cost, and convenient estate planning tool will become a reality for all Coloradans….These issues are a matter of self-determination and we are glad that the Colorado State Legislature and Governor Ritter have recognized these essential rights,” reported the Colorado Independent.