Vote Uncertain on Colorado Civil Unions Bill

There's momentum in Colorado to pass a civil unions bill after similar legislation failed last year. But whether the bill will be brought up for a vote remains in question.

BY Editors

May 08 2012 9:54 AM ET

Via Denver Post:

At least five House Republicans have said they would support the measure, but the question is whether they will get the chance.

Speaker Frank McNulty said the GOP leadership has no obligation to bring the bill up for debate, and he questioned why Senate Democrats sat on the bill for more than three months before sending it his way.

The session ends Wednesday. In order to survive, the bill must be heard today by the House Appropriations Committee and then debated by the entire House. (Read the full story here.)

Last week, the state's Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee approved the bill, days after the state Senate moved forward on the legislation extending rights to unmarried couples.

In a bipartisan 6-5 vote, the committee voted to send the bill to the Finance Committee before a House floor vote. Outgoing representative B.J. Nikkel, a Republican, cast the deciding vote in favor of the legislation, which died along a party-line vote in the same committee last year.

Nikkel voted against last year’s civil union legislation but said Thursday's hearing changed her mind.

“I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think it’s the right thing to do,” Nikkel said after the vote. “I simply believe in going with the legal rights that I think these folks ought to have. As I’ve said in the past, we’re all Coloradans — they’re Coloradans too — and I believe that they deserve to have some of the legal rights that the rest of us have.”

Senate Bill 2 would afford all unmarried couples many of the same legal rights and benefits of marriage, including second-parent adoption, inheritance rights, and end-of-life and medical decision-making rights. All told, SB-2 would offer 27 rights at the state level. The bill does not allow for same-sex marriage, which Coloradans voted to constitutionally prohibit in 2006.

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