Colorado Democrats on Thursday elected state Rep. Mark Ferrandino to be the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Ferrandino, who last session served as minority leader, becomes the first openly gay speaker in Colorado history.

The move comes two days after Democrats won 5 additional seats to regain control of the House.

Democrats in the Senate elected Senator John Morse, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, as Senate President, passing on Pat Steadman, who is openly gay.

“I couldn't dream when I was in high school that I'd be standing here,” Ferrandino said.

In a television appearance on Fox 31 Denver, Ferrandino said the Republican loss signaled increased support for gay rights, in particular a civil unions bill Republican House leaders blocked last session.

“We saw such a great turnout because of what happened at the end of the last term,” he said. “People wanted to help, and the LGBT community really came together in a way that we haven't seen before.”

“We found that civil unions had the support of the people. So we really found a lot of people on the campaign trail who thought that the House didn't live up to its potential in a democratic way by killing civil unions.”

The civil unions bill is now almost certain to move quickly though the legislature next year.