A bill which would recognize gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions cleared a second Colorado House
panel on Friday.
The momentum toward a House floor vote
before Tuesday – the last day of the legislative session – picked
up as Rep. Don Beezley, a Republican from Broomfield, joined
Democrats in the House Finance Committee to approve the measure with
a 6-5 vote.
On Thursday, Rep. B.J. Nikkel stunned
Republican colleagues when she reversed her “no” vote from last
year, allowing the measure to break free from the Judiciary Committee
where it had previously died.
The proposal still needs to clear the
House Appropriations Committee before advancing to the House floor.
Denver Post reported on Friday that Republican Rep. Cheri
Gerou, the committee's vice chair, had announced her support for
Senate Bill 2.
Supporters now have at least 3
Republican votes in the House. That is, provided Democrats stand
united, the measure has sufficient support to clear a vote on the
House floor. The Senate approved the civil unions bill last
Governor John Hickenlooper called on
lawmakers to send the bill to his desk for his signature.
“If you step back and look at the
history of this country, or the history of the world, many of the
great civil rights successes that have come about are built on the
foundation of many, many failures,” the governor said.
“At a certain point, you just feel
that the time is right. There's a level, a group, different people
from different backgrounds from different parts of the state coming
together and all moving towards an idea.”
If approved, Colorado would become the
sixth state to legalize civil unions for gay couples, behind
Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Hawaii.