Civil unions bill clears Colorado legislature
By Alex Murray
The Colorado House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 13-011 by a 39-26 margin on Tuesday, with two Republicans joining all 37 Democrats in support. Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D), the first gay representative to hold his position, sponsored the bill in the House along with fellow Democrat Sue Schafer. Ferrandino said that the bill honored "love, family, and equality."
The legislation extends rights found in marriage, including those of parentage, visitation, inheritance, and medical decisions. Unlike previous incarnations, the passed legislation does not allow exemptions for adoption groups, which opponents say could bring legal challenges. Frank McNulty (R), who voted against the bill, suggested that its passage exemplified a disrespect for religion at the capitol.
Civil unions had been a plank of the Democrats' platform in their successful bid to gain control of the House in the 2012 election after last year's version of the civil unions bill was blocked by Republican leadership.
Colorado would become the sixth state where only civil unions are legal; ten states have legalized gay marriage. In 2006, voters passed a ballot measure constitutionally defining marriage as being between "one man and one woman". Another measure statutorily creating domestic partnerships failed the same year.