DENVER
03/11/2013 02:32 pm ET

Colorado Civil Unions Bill Being Debated In House For The First time In State History

For the first time in its history, the Colorado State House is debating civil unions Monday.

Though a civil unions bill has been introduced for the past two years, both times it has been killed in committee and last year then-Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, ran out the clock and killed the bill along with 30 others during a special session.

“This marks the first day in my time here that the full House will debate civil unions,” said bill sponsor, Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver.

"This bill is about three simple things," Ferrandino said. "It's about love, it's about family, and it's about equality under the law."

This year the bill does not include religious exemptions for adoption agencies, and the bill's sponsors have rejected GOP amendements for religious exemptions.

Republican Rep. Lori Saine, Dacono, however argued that religious beliefs play a central role in her opposition of the bill while additional GOP members kept likening the bill to same-sex marriage.

"What this bill is about, really is the Bible. Is it right or wrong?" Saine asked.

But in his opening speech, Ferrandino reminded the Legislature that civil unions are not marriage, though same-sex marriage is something he personally supports.

In 2006, voters passed Amendment 43, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

"Until the voters say otherwise, civil unions is the closest we can do as a General Assembly to make sure that all families are provided protections under the law," Ferrandino said.

The bill is expected to receive initial approval Monday in the House with an official vote on Tuesday. Gov. John Hickenlooper has said that he will sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk.

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