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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Congratulations
 
Congratulations to Colorado: Civil Unions Passed
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/12/13
Last updated on: 03/12/13
 
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On March 12, 2013, the Colorado House of Representatives approved a bill that authorizes civil unions for same-sex couples. The bill, which provides all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, was previously passed by the Senate and is supported by Governor John Hickenlooper, who will sign the bill into law. It will take effect on May 1, 2013.

The House approved the bill by a margin of 39 to 26, with two Republicans joining 37 Democrats in favor of the legislation. The bill passed the Senate last month on a 21-14 vote, with one Republican joining 20 Democrats in favor of the bill.

In 2012, Colorado Republicans in the state's House of Representatives filibustered a civil unions bill, then in a special legislative session called by Governor Hickenlooper, killed it on procedural grounds despite the fact that there were sufficient votes to pass it. The unethical tactics caused great frustration in the state's glbtq community. However, rather than simply accepting the defeat, activists made civil unions a major issue in the 2012 legislative campaign, and on November 6, 2012, Democrats captured control of both houses of the legislature.

Even more delicious, openly gay Democrat Mark Ferrandino, who was a chief sponsor of the civil unions measure in 2012, was selected as Speaker of the House, replacing Republican Frank McNulty who killed the bill.

With a 37 to 28 Democratic majority in the House and a 20-15 majority in the Senate, the civil unions bill was placed on a fast track in 2013. Its passage is the fulfillment of years of struggle by Colorado's glbtq community.

The bill was sponsored by Senators Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzman and by Representatives Ferrandino and Sue Schafer.

Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, welcomed passage of the bill. "Across the country, we've seen a sea change in public opinion on this issue," he said. "A vast majority of Coloradans support providing committed same-sex couples with the security they need, and these fair-minded folks are glad to see civil unions finally passed."

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement, "The passage of civil unions in the Centennial State is further proof that full equality for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples is in sight. From now on LGBT couples in Colorado will no longer be legal strangers in the eyes of their state, but rather recognized and supported by the law."

When the law takes effect on May 1, Colorado will join seventeen other states and the District of Columbia that offer comprehensive benefits and obligations to same-sex couples through either marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships.

Because Colorado voters adopted a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2006, the civil unions bill is regarded as a temporary measure until the constitutional amendment is nullified by a judicial ruling or through a referendum.

In the video below, from February 8, 2013, openly gay Senator Pat Steadman introduces the civil unions bill in the Colorado state Senate.

 
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