Legislation to establish state recognition of civil unions in Colorado is heading back to the Senate floor for debate and a vote next week.
Although Senate Bill 2 has been moving through the democratically-controlled state Senate easily enough, it still has the House to hurdle. The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 5-2 vote the day after Valentine's Day and successfully made it through the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday on a party-line vote (all democrats voting yes and all republicans voting no).
Littleton Pastor Roger Anghis was among those who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Feb. 15:
Homosexuality is immoral. No matter how you look at it, no matter how you feel about it. And the people that are against it are standing for morality. They're not discriminating.
Another pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, countered Anghis by testifying:
In the Jesus business there is not male or female, jew or greek, slave or free, gay or straight, there is only one category of people: children of God. Which means nobody gets to be special and everybody gets to be loved.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), is confident that it will pass the Senate vote where democrats hold a 20-15 edge and head to the GOP-controlled House where it died last year on a party-line vote in committee.
"In the coming days and weeks, we're committed to working to ensure a fair hearing in the Colorado House of Representatives," Brad Clark, the executive director of statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, told KDVR. "Issues of significant importance with overwhelming public support like civil unions deserve a full and fair hearing with an up-or-down vote by the entire House."
Though the House Judiciary Committee still has the same 11-member panel as it did last year, a few republican House members have indicated their support for the bill. In addition, a poll released by Public Policy Polling just last week indicated that 62 percent of Coloradans would be in favor of the bill, and that 53 percent of Coloradans would also support gay marriage.
From Public Policy Polling:
There are two things in the crosstabs on gay marriage that really stand out. Voters under 30 think gay marriage should be legal by a 77/23 margin, and independents support it by a 61/32 spread as well. That should be a real warning sign to the GOP that continuing to tack right on this issue is going to significantly hurt its ability to appeal both to the next generation of voters and to swing voters who are somewhere between moderate and liberal on social issues.
"Every year this gains ground," Steadman told 9News. "One of these days it's going to cross the finish line. It's coming soon."
Read SB 2:
Colorado Civil Unions Bill (SB2)