STEP FORWARD

Colorado Civil-Union Bill Passes Critical Republican Hurdle

The Colorado civil-union bill passed a critical hurdle in a House committee Thursday night, reports the Associated Press.

The committee was dominated by Republicans, and the bill had failed in the same place last year. What was different this year? The change of heart by Rep. B.J. Nikkel (R-Loveland).

According to the Denver Post, Nikkel (swarmed by reporters in the photo at right) had this to say after voting yes, making the total count 6-5: “I think it was the right thing to do. We’re all Coloradans, right? It’s not something I’m passionate about, but I think we ought to move forward and bring it to a vote in the House.”

Her support of the bill wasn’t exactly heartwrenching (in fact she’s downright equivocal, especially given she reps a place called Loveland), but hey: a yes vote from a Republican on gay rights is a yes vote from a Republican on gay rights.

The bill passed the Senate in late April and has the confidence of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has said he will sign the bill.

The capitol was proudly awash with gay activists, who wore red “One Love” shirts. Here’s an inspiring slideshow with photos from the scene.

Photo via Daniel Gonzales