Lawmakers on Wednesday are expected to introduce a bill which would recognize the relationships of gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

State Senator Pat Steadman will introduce the measure as lawmakers reconvene.

Steadman has pushed for such recognition during the last two legislative sessions. But Republicans who controlled the House blocked the proposal from reaching the House floor.

Rather than allowing a vote on the bill last year, Republicans shut down voting altogether, killing nearly two dozen unrelated measures.

The incident is believed to have hurt the GOP, which lost control of the House in November.

Democrats have since elected Mark Ferrandino, an openly gay man who sponsored the bill in the House last year, as House speaker, nearly assuring passage in the chamber.

Ferrandino told the Durango Herald that it was too early to begin discussing repeal of Colorado's voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

“I don't think we're there yet as a state,” Ferrandino said.

“What I want to do is make sure couples in Colorado, families in Colorado, have the recognition and legal protections that we can afford them under the Colorado Constitution. So civil unions is the right thing to do.”