Two gay politicians in Colorado have dismissed suggestions they are trying to introduce benefits for the partners of same-sex couples of state employees for their own gain.

The Christian Family Alliance describes itself as “a group of long time Colorado activists and professionals who all believe in the core biblical principles of pro-life, pro-family values.”

Executive director Mark Hotaling said state Representative Mark Ferrandino and state Senator Jennifer Veiga had a conflict of interest.

They both said their partners have their own healthcare cover and will not be using the state benefits.

Senate Bill 88 will allow state employees to apply for health insurance for their domestic partners.

It has been approved by the Senate Business, Labour and Technology Committee and the Appropriations Committee and will now be voted on by the full Senate.

It defines the term “domestic partner” for the purpose of qualifying as the dependent of a state employee.

The cost of the new bill to the state is estimated to be just $116,000 (£79,000) a year.

The Colorado Catholic Conference opposes the bill.

“The covenant of marriage is the foundation of the continuation and well-being of society,” it stated on its website.

“The Colorado Catholic Conference opposes this legislation because it would have the effect of seeming to equate marital and non-marital unions and would contribute to the already serious loss of respect for and commitment to marriage and family life.”

State Senator Veiga introduced the bill.

“At a time when 800,000 Coloradans are uninsured, we should be doing more to extend health insurance coverage,” she said in a letter to the Denver Post.

“Extending insurance coverage is a way to show the state of Colorado cares about the health and well-being of all our employees and their families.

“It would reduce the number of uninsured and it would bring Colorado in line with 17 other states, 17 Colorado cities, and five counties.

“Academic studies have shown that when employers offer domestic-partner benefits, less than one-half of one percent of the workforce usually enrolls. In the case of Colorado state employees, legislative council estimates that 79 people will enroll.

“Extending health insurance to all our employees’ families is the right thing to do, right now.”