Colorado's civil unions bill received initial approval in the state Senate Wednesday. After a recorded vote later this week, the bill will head to the House, where a similar bill died just last year on a party line vote.
"Our toughest challenge is next -- getting past the House Judiciary Committee, where we only need one vote to secure passage," said Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado in a release calling for voters to email members of the committee.
Last year the Capitol was abuzz with rumors that there was some Republican support for a civil unions bill in the House, but after it failed to pass Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), the bill's sponsor at the time, made it a goal to equip the bill with a Republican sponsor this year.
Representative Brian Del Grosso, R-Loveland, was rumored to be one of those open to civil unions.
I think the deciding factor at the end of the day was that 2006, so just four and a half years ago, (Colorado voters) said, we don’t support that and so I don’t feel like, as a legislator it’s not my... I shouldn’t override the will of the voter.
But earlier this month, a poll by Public Policy Polling found that contrary to the feelings of 2006, 62 percent of Coloradans would now be in favor of a civil unions bill and 53 percent would also be in favor of gay marriage.
While this year's Senate Bill 2 does have the support of some Republicans, it still does not have a Republican sponsor in the House where they hold a one-vote majority.
"I don't have anyone in my family who's gay, as far as I know," Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, one of three republicans who voted for last year’s bill said according to KDVR. "I'm not here for any reason except to say that this bill, the civil unions bill, is the right thing to do."
Wednesday's debate also included controversial amendments by Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, who said that he would only the support the bill if his changes were accepted.
Mitchell wanted the bill to include exemptions for child-placement agencies who may want to turn down a same-sex couple because of personal beliefs and kick out repercussions for those who wanted to deny services for civil union ceremonies.
"The price was too great," Pat Steadman, the bill's sponsor said in the Denver Post. "It would have enabled discrimination against same-sex couples."