The Colorado Senate has approved a bill giving gay couples the right to form civil unions, but the outcome of an upcoming vote on the measure in the Republican-controlled state House is much less certain.
According to the Denver Post
, the bill passed the Democratic-controlled Senate Thursday by a solid margin of 23 to 12, with all 20 Democrats voting for it, joined by the three women in the Republican caucus.
The same bill passed the Senate last year, but died in the House, where this year Republicans still hold a majority by a 33 to 32 margin. Republican House members will have to break with their party, as the three women did in the Senate, in order for the measure to become law.
The Senate debate, the Post reported, was lively and filled with speeches quoting everything from military law, to Shakespeare and Bible verses.
At one point, Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts recalled how she was shocked in 1992 when the state passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting laws that protected gays from discrimination. The amendment was later overturned four years later by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But Roberts said, “I could not believe that in this great, generous, free-spirited state of mine that I loved so much that we had just passed a constitutional amendment that denied gay people basic rights and liberties.”
The Post said Roberts apologized for not being as eloquent as some of her Shakespeare quoting colleagues and summed up her support for civil unions this way: “A person is a person is a person.”
But Republican opponents of the measure said it would change the meaning of marriage in Colorado.
“I truly believe Jesus is a better answer than Senate Bill 2,” said Republican Scott Renfroe. “Adopting laws that change our definition of morality will tear at the fabric of society.”
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