03/31/2011 11:41 pm ET Updated May 31, 2011

Colorado Civil Unions Bill Killed On A Party Line Vote In House Judiciary Committee

After hours of emotional testimony, Senate Bill 172, the Colorado Civil Unions Bill, was killed on a party line vote in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday night.

The Bill, which was approved by the Democratic Senate last week, was sponsored by Democratic Senator Pat Steadman and Representative Mark Ferrandino, both of whom are gay. The measure would have allowed gay couples to enter into legally-recognized partnerships that would have afforded them many of the rights that are currently reserved for married couples.

"It's explicitly different, a contract within law, but not marriage," Ferrandino said at the beginning of the hearing.

Nonetheless, opponents of the bill argued that the bill essentially amounts to gay marriage, which Colorado voters rejected in a 2006 ballot initiative.

"A vote in favor of civil unions… is a vote for same sex marriage," said Doug Napier, Senior Legal Counsel for the conservative Colorado Family Action during his testimony against SB 172.

Proponents of the bill included many gay couples who gave tearful testimonies on what the passage of Senate Bill 172 would mean to them.

Others supporters predicted that the bill would help lure jobs to Colorado, and add money to state coffers.

All 5 Democrats on the Committee voted for the bill, while all 6 Republicans on the committee voted against the it. Republican Representatives Brian DelGrosso, Jerry Sonnenberg and B.J. Nikkel, considered moderates on the committee, took long pauses before submitting their "no" votes Thursday night.