Colorado State Sen. Pat Steadman introduced his highly anticipated civil unions bill Monday, delivering a Valentine’s Day present to the state’s gay and lesbian community.
“Civil unions will allow committed couples to share in the responsibilities and protections in Colorado law that most families take for granted,” he said in a release. “Our society is stronger when we promote personal responsibility and taking care of one another, and civil unions do just that.”
Since last November, when Sen. Steadman first announced his plans to sponsor a bill that would grant statewide relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples, there has been a national spotlight on Colorado.
“Especially in these difficult economic times, gay and lesbian couples need the critical protections that civil unions offer to provide for their families,” said Brad Clark, director of gay rights group OneColorado, in a release. “Civil unions will ensure that thousands of gay and lesbian couples all across the state can protect the ones they love.”
Various statewide religious institutions have come out in favor of Sen. Steadman’s bill, as the bill does not require institutions to certify civil union partnerships.
Religious leaders in support of the bill have said they see it as a matter of religious freedom. Faith leaders who believe in supporting marriage between two adults regardless of gender should be able to confer their blessing in an official way. Faith leaders who don’t believe in supporting gay marriage should likewise not be forced to confer such blessings.
The bill is expected to move swiftly through the Democratic-controlled state Senate and pick up considerable support in the state House, where the Republicans are the majority by one vote.
GLAAD worked very closely with One Colorado to media train 107 spokespersons around the state to share their stories of love and commitment. We will continue to monitor the coverage as the bill moves to a vote.