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Colorado Senate gives final approval to same-sex civil union bill

Colorado Senate gives final approval to same-sex civil union bill

Updated: 11:45 a.m. MT

DENVER — Colorado state Senate Republicans held their peace this morning when the chamber, without discussion, passed the Colorado Civil Union Act 21-14.

Sen. Ellen Robert, a Republican, joined the Democratic caucus in supporting the bill.

The legislation to create state recognition of same-sex couples will now head to the House of Representatives. A committee hearing is likely to be scheduled next week.

State Sens. Lucia Guzman (left) Rollie Heath and Pat Steadman, embrace after the Senate passed Colorado Civil Union Act on third reading.
Photo: Evan Semon, Out Front Colorado

The Senate debated the bill, sponsored by gay Denver Democrats state Sens. Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzaman, for three hours last week.

And at least one Republican lawmaker, state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, had foreshadowed today’s final discussion could be a long one, too.

But that fight never came to fruition.

During the Feb. 8 debate, Republicans attempted to amend the bill by adding religious exemptions for private businesses and adoption agencies. The GOP, the minority party, also tried to send the bill to the voters. In a final plea GOP lawmakers asked to have the start date of May 1 pushed back so that voters might be able to repeal the law at the ballot box.

Republicans called their last amendment a “compromise,” while the bill’s sponsor said the Colorado Civil Union Act was a matter of life and death and they could not wait any longer.

The bill has been debated three times in as many years. Previously, Republicans in the House have blocked the bill from becoming law.

All four of the Republican amendments failed.

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