Monday, May 07, 2012

Colorado Civil Union Bill Inches Closer To Vote


Colorado has always seemed right on the precipice of enacting pro-LGBT legislation, and then they pull back, out of fear, or out of loathing. And the same holds true today.
A bill to allow civil unions for gay couples in Colorado needs to survive two more votes in the GOP-led House before it gets to the governor’s desk, but it appears closer than in any other year to becoming law.
Teetering on said precipice.
If the legislation passes, Colorado would join more than a dozen states that allow gay marriage or civil unions. Hawaii and Delaware began allowing civil unions earlier this year.
Of course, Civil Unions, like Domestic Partnerships, are really just Marriage-lite. While they allow lesbian and gay couple some rights that are similar to marriage, they aren't full marriage equality. But, this is a big step for gun-shy Colorado.
So far Colorado Democrats have been able to advance the bill past two GOP-led House committees, with the Finance Committee approving the measure last Friday with a 7-6 vote; it passed the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday.
Republican Representative  Don Beezley, the only Republican to support the measure on the finance panel, said, “For me, it really came down to that basic issue of fairness and doing the right thing.”
The right thing.
The bill now goes before the Appropriations Committee where the Democrats, of course, fully support its passage; but they'll need at least one Republican to vote yes for it to go to the full House. And that lone Republican just might be Representative Cheri Gerou who has previously said she supports a Civil Unions bill.
And while Republicans have a 33-32 vote advantage in the House, given the committee votes, where Republicans joined Democrats, the bill could have enough support for passage.
Mark Ferrandino, a Democrat and gay lawmaker, who sponsored the bill, says, “I’m very excited. We're one step closer today than we were yesterday, and yesterday we were one step closer than we’ve ever been.”
The Colorado Senate has already approved the bill, and, if the house passes it, it could reach the desk of Governor John Hickenlooper by Wednesday; Hickenlooper says he fully supports the bill.
Right on the precipice.
Hopefully, this time, Colorado will take that leap toward equality.

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