The Colorado Senate on Thursday
approved a bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with
civil unions, the AP reported.
The final 23 to 12 tally wasn't a
surprise. Senators twice approved Senator Pat Steadman's bill with a
voice vote on Wednesday.
Surprising were the actions of three
Republicans who crossed the aisle to support the measure, which
wasn't even in need of their assistance.
Republican Senators Jean White, Nancy
Spence and Ellen Roberts backed the bill.
During Wednesday's debate, Steadman,
who is openly gay, told colleagues that the bill was essential for
ensuring “very basic, but very important legal protections … that
no family should be without.”
The measure now moves to the House,
where Democratic Representative Mark Ferrandino will carry the bill.
Ferrandino has claimed there is
Republican support for the measure in the GOP-controlled House. But
whether the measure reaches the House floor remains to be seen.
Supporters worry that House Speaker Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch
Republican, will assign the bill to a hostile committee, thereby
quoted McNulty as saying: “When we get it, we will assign it to
committee and wherever it's assigned, it will receive a fair
Opponents of the measure have attempted
to paint civil unions as analogous to marriage, most likely in an
attempt to lay the groundwork for a legal challenge to the measure if
approved by lawmakers. In 2006, voters adopted a constitutional
amendment that defines marriage as a heterosexual union.
Three states – Illinois, Hawaii and
New Jersey – currently offer civil unions. A
similar bill was introduced in Delaware on Tuesday.