WASHINGTON – The Colorado Senate today passed a civil unions bill 23-12. It moves next to the state’s House of Representatives.
SB 127, introduced by Senator Pat Steadman, would allow both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions giving couples all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage under state law, but would not allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.
Three Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the measure Thursday following a second round of emotional debate, the Associated Press reported.
More Republicans went to the podium to speak about the bill than they did Wednesday when only one party member voiced opposition. They emphasized their concerns that civil unions would undermine marriage and go against the wishes of voters. Voters rejected a domestic partnership referendum in 2006 and also banned gay marriage the same year, the AP reported.
If the bill passes the House, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has vowed to sign it into law. And if it becomes law, Colorado would become the seventh state to recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. Five states and the District of Columbia provide marriage equality for all.
Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.