A bill which would recognize gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions cleared a Colorado Senate panel on
Wednesday after lawmakers heard hours of emotional testimony.
One Republican senator joined all
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the measure
with a 5-2 vote.
The bill is supported by Democratic
Governor John Hickenlooper, who called on lawmakers to approve the
legislation during his annual State of the State speech last month.
The measure would give gay couples all
the protections of marriage. Lawmakers are barred from pursuing
marriage for gay couples due to a 2006 voter-approved constitutional
amendment which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.
Republican Senator Kevin Lundberg, an
opponent of the bill, described civil unions as a “legal jiu-jitsu
to simply get around the term.”
Lundberg suggested that the bill's
passage would encourage supporters to press on for full marriage.
“I can tell you Senator Lundberg that
if this bill passes, I will avail myself of it,” responded
Democratic Senator Pat Steadman, the bill's openly gay sponsor. “I
am a member of the class of unmarried persons who are eligible for
this relationship, and it is one that I would seek. Beyond that, I
cannot predict. The arc of history is one that bends toward
Steadman's bill cleared the Senate last
year before it died in a Republican-controlled House committee on a