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Colorado poised to approve gay civil unions

Colorado poised to approve gay civil unions

Senate Democrats are set to approve to gay civil unions during a planned vote in the legislative committee’s first session, scheduled later today (23 January).

The bill, which was unsuccessful in the past due to Republican opposition, is likely to become law, with Democrats controlling the state House, Senate and governor’s office.

In the last two years there has been a vocal and at times antagonistic debate over a same-sex civil union bill which was defeated and criticized by Republicans and religious leaders.

The Democrats and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have pledged their support for the bill, however have been guarded about gay marriage as the state banned same-sex marriage.

In 2006, voters approved Amendment 43 banning same-sex marriage and common law marriages between same-sex partners.

However, civil unions are not explicitly banned by the amendment. 

Opponents of marriage equality, such as Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, however, state that civil unions is just a step towards the ultimate goal of legalizing gay marriage.

Carrie Gordon Earll, spokeswoman for CitizenLink told the Craig Daily Press: ‘Laws like civil unions and domestic partnerships have been used in other states to challenge marriage and usher in same-sex marriage.’

She said since gay civil union seems certain to pass in Colorado, the group will now focus on possible measures by the US Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in March on California’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, a decision that is likely to have an impact throughout the US.

If California’s ban will be overturned, similar bans, including Colorado’s, would very likely to be withdrawn allowing a marriage equality bill to be put to the vote.

Denver Democratic Senator Pat Steadman, sponsor of the civil unions bill that Colorado’s constitution ban on gay marriage ‘will not stand the test of time’ and that he was buoyed by President Obama’s pro gay marriage statement during his inaugural address Monday (21 January).

More than a dozen US states allow civil unions, domestic partnerships, or same-sex marriage.

Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut allowed civil unions before eventually legalizing same-sex marriage.

If the civil union bill is voted, Governor John Hickenlooper has pledged to sign the bill at once.