Catholic adoption agencies in Colorado have expressed disappointment over passage of a bill recognizing gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

The bill faced heavy opposition last year in the Republican-controlled House, where leaders refused to allow the bill to come up for a vote.

The drama of the past two years was in sharp contrast to the ease with which the bill sailed through the General Assembly this year now that Democrats have regained control.

And one of its largest opponents appears to have suffered a setback.

Unlike last year's bill, the measure approved this year omits exemptions to religious institutions wishing to withhold adoptions based on sexual orientation.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver expressed “disappointment” in the bill's passage, saying that if signed into law, civil unions “may threaten the policies which guide us in the vital work to find families for Colorado's children in need.”

Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who is openly gay and a foster parent with his partner, said such an exemption would be tantamount to discrimination.

(Related: Denver Post defends running photo of gay lawmaker kissing partner.)

“There are hundreds of LGBT couples who want to raise kids, and these kids who are in the foster system have for some reason been taken away from their biological parents for abuse or neglect,” he said. “What they need more than anything is a family who loves them and wants to raise them. We should not deny them the opportunity to have two loving parents, be they two women, two men, or a man and a woman.”

Catholic Charities has previously threatened to end adoption services in Colorado if the measure did not include exemptions that would allow religiously-affiliated adoption agencies to exclude gay couples. However, the organization on Tuesday said it would wait for the bill to be signed into law before announcing a decision on the matter.