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Colorado Civil Unions Bill Passes Senate Reading

Colorado Civil Unions Bill Passes Senate Reading

A bill that would establish civil unions for same-sex couples in the state of Colorado passed a second reading Wednesday, with a final vote expected within the next few days.

The bill, Senate Bill 172, was introduced by openly gay Senator Pat Steadman. It passed an initial voice vote on Monday and sailed through what was described as a “civil” debate on Wednesday.

Given that the bill is cosponsored by all 20 Democratic senators, and that they have a majority in the 35-seat Colorado Senate, the bill is expected to meet little resistance on its final vote.*

When the legislation moves to the House the outliook is less trouble-free, though advocates are quietly optimistic the votes are there if the bill can reach the floor.

From On Top Magazine:

Democratic Representative Mark Ferrandino will introduce the measure in the House.

Ferrandino has claimed there is Republican support for the measure in the GOP-controlled House. But whether the measure reaches the House floor remains to be seen. Supporters worry that House Speaker Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican, will assign the bill to a hostile committee, thereby killing it.

The Colorado Statesman has quoted McNulty as saying: “When we get it, we will assign it to committee and wherever it’s assigned, it will receive a fair hearing.”

More insight from The Advocate:

Once the bill passes the Senate, it will move to the House of Representatives, where openly gay Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) will introduce the bill. Ferrandino has said there are enough bipartisan votes to pass the bill in the House, but first it must make it out of an as-yet-undetermined committee.

Brad Clark, Executive Director for LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, is optimistic that Speaker of the House Frank McNulty will treat the bill fairly, and not send it to a kill committee, effectively ending the bill’s trajectory through the legislature.

“The speaker has committed to a fair hearing when it moves over to the House,” said Clark. “And we think issues of this great of importance to Coloradoans – 72% of Coloradans support [legislation like] this – deserve an up or down vote by the full body of the House.”

Of the bill’s chance for passage in the Republican-controlled House, Sen. Guzmán said, “It depends a great deal on which committee it’s sent to. If it’s sent to their Judiciary committee, it has a huge chance of passing. If it’s sent to State Affairs or whichever is their killing committee, it won’t even reach the floor. But there are many Republican friends that I have in the House who are very supportive.”

If the measure passes the House, it will be sent on to Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk. The governor is expected to sign the legislation.


*UPDATE: The Colorado Senate has just passed the civil unions bill 23-12 with the support of 3 GOP Senators.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Jack Newton.

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21 comments

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5:57AM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

I agree with Janice P. However, I realize that the introduction of Civil Unions will be good because it's a first step. As soon as the public gets used to workmates, family, friends, aquaintances, and others being in civil unions and see that they are not threatening them, the likelyhood of full marriage rights being introduced and becoming the law are higher than today.
The Scandinavian countries reckognized same sex unions in 1994 and they were called Registered Partnerships. In the mid to end of the decade of 2000, laws that equalized marriage rights were passed in parlaments. In Sweden in 2009. So, it took 15 years of hard work. I don't think it will take that long in US, since several states already have equal marriage rights.

4:29AM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

jorge: please stop the sickly homophobia. that's what you really meant, isn't it?

2:23AM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:36AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

PLEASE STOP THE SICKLY LOVE

11:20AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Fred Krohn has it right - ALL state issued certificates should be civil union certificates - let the churches keep thier marriage certificates! And just to keep the uproar to a minimum - I do count myself a christian - just not one stupid enough to think I have the right to call the kettle black!

8:33AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Good start. Government should be limitted to issuing civil union certificates for all adult consensual groups wishing to establish a common household; 'marriage' should be the domain of the church hosting the wedding ceremony or issuing the wedding certificate. Whether the couple gets married at a Baptist church as a hetero couple or at a Unitarian church as a homosexual couple or pansexual tribe should be irrelevant and outside of government control. Homophobia should be banned!

8:09AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

GREAT NEWS!!

8:03AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Let's hope everything goes well.

Thanks for the info.

7:17AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

The only objection I have is calling the legal union between ANY two people a "civil union" simply because of their gender. I realize that is a step forward for the GLBT community, but, in my estimation, the distinction between "marriage" and "civil union" is just another way in which to discriminate against that community and its members and to make their relationship seem something "less than", having lower value than a "marriage".

I believe that names and labels DO matter. They can insinuate a lot of pejorative things. I believe that a legal union of two people - regardless of who they are - ought to be called a "marriage" and ought to be given equal footing with all other such relationships. THAT is the kind of REAL equality the US should promote.

5:48AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Every baby step forward on the marriage equality issue is a good thing, especially when it is in a state that is such a hotbed for activity by the Religious Reich! After all, Colorado is the home of James Dobson and his toadies-I'm sure they've got their knickers in a twist over this "outrage!" Too bad, so sad, B-O-O H-O-O. If this bill passes the House, you can bet I'll be doing some happy dancing!

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