A Colorado Senate committee on Thursday
approved a bill which would recognize the relationships of gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions.
A 4-3 vote in favor of the measure sent
it to the full Senate for consideration.
Thursday's vote was the second
legislative victory for the bill which cleared the Senate Judiciary
Committee last Wednesday along a 3-2 party-line vote. Civil unions
legislation has failed in the two previous legislative sessions.
Christian conservative groups which
oppose the measure, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and
CitizenLink, the political arm of Focus on the Family, have
previously said that the measure threatens religious freedom.
Several have warned that the ultimate
goal for Democrats is extending marriage rights to gay couples.
However, a constitutional amendment
approved by voters in 2006 limits marriage to heterosexual couples.
With Democrats in control of both
chambers and Governor John Hickenlooper a supporter, passage appears
If the bill is approved, Colorado would
join 5 other states – Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island
and Hawaii – which offer the union. However, all 5 of those
states, along with Minnesota, are expected to consider legalizing gay
marriage this year.