Colorado on the Road to Civil Unions With New Legislature

With Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and a supportive governor, Colorado is poised to become the latest state to offer civil unions to same-sex couples, with legislation introduced today.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

January 09 2013 6:37 PM ET

Sen. Pat Steadman, the openly gay Denver Democrat who introduced the Civil Unions Act. 

Two gay state senators in Colorado introduced a bill to establish civil unions this morning, on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

Sen. Pat Steadman and Sen. Lucia Guzmán introduced Senate Bill 11, a near-copy of the civil unions legislation that died in a dramatic procedural showdown at the end of last year's session.

The bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, as it did last year, with bipartisan support. Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is an outspoken supporter of civil unions and is expected to sign the bill.

Last year's legislation died when House Republicans, led by then-Speaker Frank McNulty, shut down the chamber in order to avoid a vote on the bill, which supporters said had enough support to pass the Republican-controlled House. 

This year, however, the legislation is all but guaranteed to sail through both legislative chambers, with a bicameral Democratic majority, and gay Denver Democrat Mark Ferrandino as the newly minted speaker of the House. 

Ferrandino, the first openly LGBT person to lead the state's House of Representatives, said the time is right for Colorado move toward full equality for LGBT citizens.

"We must acknowledge that all committed couples deserve equal protection under the law," Ferrandino told The Denver Post. "Forever end Colorado's 'hate state' nickname, and, with bipartisan cooperation, pass civil unions this year."

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