The Colorado House Appropriations Committee today passed Senate Bill 11, which would establish civil unions, by a bipartisan vote of 9-4, reports ThinkProgress.
Rep. Cheri Gerou, the bill's only Republican sponsor in the House, joined all of the committee's democrats in voting to move the bill forward for a vote by the full House.
Speaker of the House Rep. Mark Ferrandino, a gay Denver Democrat and cosponsor of the bill, expects the bill to pass the Democrat-controlled chamber.
"There are families throughout Colorado, including my own, who are living the same as any family but lack the legal safeguards and recognition afforded to everyone else," Speaker Mark Ferrandino said today in a statement. "These committed couples want civil unions to uphold the values we all hold dear: commitment to others, stability, responsibility, and, most importantly, family."
Governor John Hickenlooper, also a Democrat, has promised to sign the legislation, and supporters say LGBT couples in Colorado could enter into civil unions as early as May 1.
"We applaud the members of the House Appropriations Committee who voted to affirm that all families are worthy of respect. We look forward to bipartisan passage on the floor of the House," said LGBT advocacy group One Colorado Executive Director Brad Clark in a statement.
This year marks the third time LGBT supporters have brought civil unions legislation before the legislature. Last year, the bill passed the Senate and two House committees with bipartisan support, but Republican leadership refused to allow the bill to come to a floor vote in a dramatic procedural move that shut down the legislature on the last day of the session.