A bill that will allow unmarried people to share employee benefits and plan their estates, and which is likely to benefit gay couples, was signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter Thursday.
HB 1260 allows any two adults to enter into "designated beneficiary agreements." Such agreements would allow for one adult to designate a person of their choice, even if that person is not their spouse, as the recipient of property, life insurance proceeds, retirement benefits and other assets of their estate.
It would also allow the designation of any other adult as a person who can make medical decisions on one's behalf.
Republican critics of the measure had criticized it as a back-door attempt to undercut the Colorado electorate's rejection of Referendum I, which would have authorized civil unions in the state.
But Ritter's spokesperson said the governor considers the bill to be an effort to help people get their business and personal affairs in order during a time when they are ill or facing death.