The Denver Post has defended its decision to run a photo of a gay lawmaker kissing his partner after passage Tuesday of a civil unions bill.

Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino has championed the measure in the House for at least the last three years.

The bill passed on Tuesday with a strong 39-26 vote. Clearing the House means the bill will become law since Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper has already publicly stated his support for the measure.

(Related: Colorado House approves civil unions for gay couples.)

The photo of Ferrandino kissing his partner Greg Wertsch after passage of the measure is especially compelling since a baby bottle belonging to the couple's foster child was sitting on Ferrandino's desk.

The Denver Post defended its decision to run the photo along with its front page story.

“Ferrandino has been a central part of the entire civil unions debate, for years,” photo editor Ken Lyons said. “His inclusion feels like the ending to this story, and it would have been remiss to not have him as part of the report.”

“We were aware that some may object, but we wanted to put the truth of what this bill means to this couple. It's an example of what it means to many couples.”