03/07/2011 11:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado Civil Unions Bill Clears Senate Judicial Committee

The Judiciary committee of the Colorado Senate approved a bill on Monday that would grant homosexual couples many of the same rights currently reserved for married heterosexual couples.

Senate Bill 172, sponsored by Denver Democrat Pat Steadman, would "authorize any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union," which would afford them eligibility for public assistance benefits, rights to visit one another in a correctional facility, and the ability to inherit property, among other rights.

The Judiciary Committee approved the SB 172 on a 6-3 vote Monday, with all 5 Democrats plus Republican Ellen Roberts voting in favor of the bill.

It passed its first legislative hurdle despite the vehement objections of Republican Kevin Lundberg.

"You have a very, very hard case that this is not truly in violation of the Colorado Constitution that recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman," Lundberg said at the hearing.

Opponents who testified against the bill took Lundberg's arguments a step further, arguing that passage of the bill would amount to a dangerous level of acceptance of gay marriage. A witness named Rosina Kovar even mentioned Stalin in arguing against the bill.

"This is what was said by Joseph Stalin: America is like a healthy body and its resistance is three-fold. It's patriotism, it's morality and it's spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within," Kovar said.

The bill will now move to the finance committee for a vote.