A Colorado bill which seeks to recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions will be heard by a Senate committee on Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hear Senator Pat Steadman's bill when it meets at 1:30PM.

Steadman, an openly gay Democrat from Denver, has pitched his measure during three legislative sessions in a row. In previous sessions, Republicans who controlled the House blocked the proposals 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.

Democrats regained control of the House in November and elected Mark Ferrandino, an openly gay man who sponsored the bill in the House last year, as House speaker, nearly assuring passage in that chamber.

Opponent of the measure have warned that the ultimate goal for Democrats is extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

For his part, Steadman has said that Colorado's 2006 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples “will not stand the test of time.”