Civil Union Bill Approved in Colorado Senate

Colorado likes to fashion itself as a rogue state. And, while it’s not quite marriage, the Colorado Senate gave initial approval of a civil union bill yesterday that will benefit same-sex couples seeking to have their relationships recognized by the state.

Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver said his bill gives gay couples many of the rights and responsibilities of straight couples, but it does not allow marriage. “I think this is a bill that honors commitment and love and responsibility,” he said. “It empowers people to provide economic and financial and emotional security for themselves and their loved ones.”

If you remember, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure to constitutionally ban marriage equality in 2006 but a poll from earlier this month shows that 62% of Coloradans—and a whopping 55% of Republicans!—agree that same-sex couples should have civil unions or marriage rights. The organization One Colorado represents 200 faith leaders and 140 organizations that are in favor of the civil unions bill.

“Civil unions are about commitment,” Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, said in a statement. “They’re about responsibility. And they’re about being able to take care of the one you love. Today’s bipartisan vote in the Senate affirms the dignity of all loving families in the state. We look forward to a fair hearing in the House. Issues with overwhelming public support like civil unions deserve an up-or-down vote by all of our Representatives.”

Photo by Evan Semon via

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  • Cam

    THIS is why the bigots were terrified about gay marriage becoming an issue, and why HRC was so offbase when they, for years, tried to prevent it from becoming an issue.

    Civil Unions used to be a big deal and the right fought against them. NOW, the debate has moved so far that even a majority of Republicans look at Civil Unions as acceptable.

    It’s NOM’s nightmare.

  • 1equalityUSA

    back of the bus status

  • R.A.

    Every step forward is a win.
    We shot ourselves in the foot with ENDA holding out for the perfect, and that won’t be heard of again until liberal Dems have both houses.

  • 1equalityUSA

    Politicians usually prefer to have the Courts settle these matters. It takes the burden off of their political spines. I am happy that Civil Unions are better than nothing at all, but I do not relinquish our absolute entitlement to the same rights that the more popular Americans enjoy and take for granted. If Robert P. George and NOM really cared so deeply for marriage, they would be funding the fight to banish divorce. Silence on the divorce front.

  • T

    I personally find ‘Civil Unions’ offensive. Give me marriage (the same as hetero couples) or nothing. We’ve tried the Separate but equal thing once and we see how that worked out.

  • iDavid

    I understand separate but equal, and at the same time a stair step approach is not all together unwise. Most gay guys have trouble coming out and accepting themselves. It’s a process not done at the snap of the fingers. Is it altogether abnormal to expect str8s to accept everything “gay” overnight? Lighten up is my motto, time will put this altogether just fine.

  • iDavid

    Anger can be a very deceptive anchor.

  • Cam


    I agree with you. my point is that the far right has been pushed. Before they were fighting against civil unions wanting gays to have nothing. Now they are so desperate and realize that they are losing the battle so that they are begging to legalize civil unions rather than marriage.

    They’ve lost, they just don’t know it yet.

  • J Stratford

    The firs gay marriages came from states who had civil unions first. This is a step forward, especially since this is the first civil union state in that area. People from SD, NE, WY, UT, and ID can now cross the border to get “unionized”.

    Soon, those states will have lots and lots of recognized gay couples too. Its a domino effect guys!

    One more state for a civil union or marriage, in the south this time, and this becomes a runaway train. I’m pinning my hopes on North Carolina…

  • Robert in NYC

    All of the ten countries where equal civil marriage is legal went through this step with varying degrees of legal unions for same-sex couples. Denmark was the first ever in 1989 and now look at it, marriage equality to be legal this June. I know it’s extremely frustrating having to go this route but the strategy works. Look what’s happening in the UK. Civil Partnerships in 2004 and now a full equal civil marriage consultation underway. This is a step in the right direction for Colorado paving the way for marriage equality. It will come, inevitable.

  • Meowzer

    Civil Unions… big freekin’ deal. I don’t want a second class acceptance, I want my relationship recognized as a marriage. The same word hetero couples get to use. My husband and I had to go to another state to get married… and our state doesn’t even recognize it. Civil Unions are a cop out. All the benefits, not of the acceptance. It’s like a bully beating you down for years and then whispering “I’m sorry you feel I bullied you”.

  • Danny

    People would be pissed off to holy heavens if their 2nd Amendment rights were violated. People have equally every reason to be pissed off to holy hell for having their 14th Amendment rights violated – especially since our friends and family keeping suffering and dying.

  • B

    No. 11 · Meowzer wrote, “Civil Unions… big freekin’ deal. I don’t want a second class acceptance, I want my relationship recognized as a marriage.”

    If you make more tiny steps in the right direction than in the wrong direction, you eventually get where you actually want to go, and tiny steps are easier to make than big steps.

    If you look at the opposition’s tactics, they’ll claim that every state where the public voted on it, same-sex marriage lost. It is technically true, but what they don’t tell you is that they generally picked the states where they had the best chances of winning so they could claim a successful track record (important for getting financial contributions).

    The bottom line is that you need to focus on how to actually win and sometimes the best tactic may be to make incremental progress rather than trying to get there instantly.

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