The Colorado State Senate gave formal passage on Monday (11 February) to a civil unions bill that now moves on to the House for consideration.
It was the bill's third and final reading in the Senate which last Friday approved the bill with all Democrats voting in favor and Republican Senator Ellen Roberts crossing party lines to vote in support.
'Committed gay and lesbian couples in the state have been waiting for years - 10, 20, even 40 years - to have their relationships protected,' said One Colorado Executive Director Brad Clark whose group is advocating passage of the bill.
'It's well past time that these families have equal protection under the law,' Clark added. 'We applaud the bipartisan passage of civil unions in the Senate and look forward to the debate in the House.'
Last year, it was at this point in the legislative process that a similar bill was blocked from reaching a vote in the then-Republican controlled House. But the Democrats now control the House and SB-11 is expected to also be approved by that body.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has made clear he will sign the bill into law.
The bill provides gay and lesbian couples with such legal protections and responsibilities as the ability to take family leave to care for a partner, to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, to live together in a nursing home, and to adopt children together.