Colorado Senate Panel Advances Civil Unions Bill

Colorado Senate Panel Advances Civil Unions Bill

A Colorado Senate committee advanced a civil unions bill Wednesday, but the legislation faces a challenge in the Republican-controlled House, where it died in committee last year.

The Associated Press reports on the 5-2 committee vote following hours of emotional testimony from gay couples who packed a hearing room. One Republican joined Democrats in approving the bill.

“The bill addresses parental rights and child support when a same-sex couple separates,” according to the AP. “The bill would also grant same-sex couples other rights similar to what exist in a traditional marriage, such as the ability to be involved in their partner's medical and end-of-life decisions. It also would enhance inheritance and property rights.”

Last year the Democratic-controlled Senate passed the civil unions bill in a 23-12 vote with bipartisan support. The bill died in a 5-6 vote along party lines in the House Judiciary Committee.

The AP reports that last month Democratic governor John Hickenlooper urged lawmakers to pass civil unions in his State of the State speech, and more Republicans have expressed public support for the bill.

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