A Colorado Senate panel on Monday
approved a bill that offers gay and lesbian couples many of the
benefits and responsibilities of marriage, The Durango Herald
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved
the bill with a 6 to 3 vote.
Openly gay state Senator Pat Steadman
introduced his gay-inclusive civil unions bill on Valentine's Day.
Democratic Representative Mark Ferrandino will sponsor a similar bill
in the House.
One opponent of the bill said it was “a
laughingstock in the eyes of God.”
“American society is based on the
family,” Pastor Roger Anghis of Prevailing Word Ministries in
Littleton told the committee. “The family has always been one man
and one woman. It will never be anything else.”
Also opposed to the proposal is the
Roman Catholic Church.
a letter to Colorado Catholics, Rev. Charles J. Chaput, the
Archbishop of Denver, said the bill “undermines the privileged
place of marriage and the family.”
“Marriage and the family are
cornerstones of any culture – Christian or not. They ensure the
future through the creation of new human life. Any diminishment of
the identity of marriage and the family undermines society itself.”
Steadman said he is proposing the law
because a 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment bans gay
marriage in the state.
“The constitutional amendment was
about marriage and that's not what this bill is about,” Steadman
told NBC affiliate 9 News. “The importance of this issue is that
there are literally thousands of families in Colorado that currently
do not have the equal protection of state law that are available to
All 20 Democratic members of the Senate
are co-sponsors to the legislation, making passage in the
Democrat-controlled chamber a near certainty. Less certain are the
bill's prospects in the House, where Republicans hold a single seat
If approved, Colorado would become the
fourth state to offer the union behind New Jersey, Illinois and
The bill now heads to the Senate
Finance Committee for another hearing.