Colorado civil union bill passes out of Senate Committee

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee in Colorado voted to advance a bill that would allow same-sex couples in the state to join together in civil union, which affords same-sex couples some - but not all - of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. The bill will now move to the Senate Appropriations Committee as its next step through the Democratic-controlled legislature. 

One Colorado, a statewide organization committed to advancing the needs of LGBT people in Colorado, applauded the triumph yesterday. The organization said:

All of us at OC are in awe of everything our supporters have done to help us get to today's victory. Thousands and thousands of folks have already gotten involved to help make sure that 2013 is our year. We can't thank you enough for helping us start this legislative session off with a big win.

Today was a big win that's propelling us forward with a lot of momentum at our backs. We're committed to making sure that we keep it going.

The civil union bill has significant support from public figures in the state of Colorado - most notably CO Gov. John Hickenlooper, who earlier this month said, "This year, let's do it. Let's pass civil unions!" and wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that "Civil unions is about justice and economic prosperity. We've said it before, and we're saying it again: Pass this bill!"

Last year, in May, the Colorado House of Represenatives failed to bring the civil union bill to a vote, although it had significant momentum and was expected to pass. Republican leadership in the House essentially filibustered the Civil Union Act, running out the clock so that there was not enough time to take a final vote on the legislation. This year, advocates like One Colorado are hopeful that the state can finally pass the civil union bill.

Civil union provides a measure of protections to same-sex couples and their families, but it is not a substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security, and responsibility of marriage itself. Civil union excludes people from marriage and creates an unfair system that falls short of providing the same protections as marriage. Despite their inequality, civil union legislation shows progress and provides same-sex couples and their families with important responsibilitie and protections that they previously did not have. 

As we celebrate the advancement of the civil union law in Colorado, we also look forward to a day when same-sex couples can see their state stand up for their love, their commitment, and their families by extending the full freedom to marry.