Colorado Senate Panel Advances Civil Union Bill in 3-2 Vote

After an afternoon of hearings, Colorado's Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Colorado Civil Union Act, KDVR reports:

ColoradoThe first vote came late Wednesday afternoon — and it came as no surprise to anyone — when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-to-2 on party lines to send Senate Bill 11 on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Bringing down the gavel on the vote was Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, D-Adams County, elected in November, who had sat on the other side of the room the past two years and testified twice about how the bill’s legal protections would help support his partner and their son.

“It’s a very different year, a very exciting year,” Ulibarri told FOX31 Denver prior to the hearing. “We have folks here who are willing to stand up for committed couples and there will be a very different result this year.”

The bill was introduced in the Senate by openly gay Senators Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzman.

The LGBT rights coalition One Colorado applauded the bill's passage:

If passed, SB-11 will provide committed gay and lesbian couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities, such as the ability to take family leave to care for a partner, to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, to live together in a nursing home, and to adopt children together.
"Gay and lesbian couples share similar worries as everyone else, like making ends meet, losing their job, or being denied health insurance." said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, the lead organization advocating for passage of the bill. "Civil unions are an important part of building the security we all long for."

Said Steadman: "Civil unions will allow committed couples to share in the responsibilities and protections in Colorado law that most families take for granted. Our society is stronger when we promote personal responsibility and taking care of one another."

Added Guzman: "Civil unions are about commitment. They’re about responsibility. And they’re about being able to take care of the one you love. Two people in a committed relationship, gay or straight, should be able to take care of and be responsible for each other. Civil unions allow them to do just that."