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Civil unions bill passes Colorado Senate

Community/Meta Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

As expected, the Colorado Senate last note approved a civil union bill with bipartisan support on a third and final vote of 23-12.  All 20 Democrats voted for the legislation, joined by the chamber’s three female Republican Senators.  Although the state’s constitution prohibits marriage equality, the Colorado Civil Unions Act would provide gay and lesbian couples with many of the legal rights that heterosexual married couples enjoy.

Republican Senator Ellen Roberts said she hoped the vote would undo some of the damage of Amendment 2, a successful 1992 ballot measure prohibiting any of the state’s three branches of government from recognizing gays as a protected class.  The measure was struck down in the landmark Supreme Court decision of Romer v. Evans.  Speaking to OutFront Colorado, Sen. Roberts said:

“In 1992, when Amendment 2 passed, I was stopped in my tracks,” she said. “It was a punch in my stomach. (Passing civil unions) will restore your’s, mine and Colorado’s collective soul we lost in the 1990s.”

The legislation, which also passed the Colorado Senate last year, now moves to the House of Representatives.  Last year’s bill was killed by a House panel on a 6-5 party line vote, and was never considered in committee or by the full chamber.  The bill will likely suffer the same fate this year: the Colorado Observer reports that Assistant House Majority Leader Mark Waller, a Republican, said the bill would be killed as written now.  Remarkably, Waller was quoted indirectly in the Observer as saying the bill “would create a special class of citizens under Colorado law that does not conform to federal laws.”  A Republican spokesman later told OutFront that Waller was “misquoted” and that the bill will get a fair hearing.

The civil unions bill will likely be quickly assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it will be scheduled for consideration next week.


  • 1. Jamie  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I hate to be pissy, but do you think you could cover what the site is actually about – the Prop 8 trial, and give an update as to where things are and what the hold-up is?

  • 2. Kate  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I'd bet that if Scottie and the gang knew, they'd be the first to tell us.

  • 3. Scott Wooledge  |  April 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    It's a conspiracy. They know they're just withholding!

  • 4. bythesea  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Uh aside from the rudeness (we will be the first to know if any new information becomes available you know), the active participants in this site discussed and opined the scope of the site and the consensus was to more broadly cover LGBT equality issues (particularly Marriage equality) and news more broadly while still maintaining a focus on the Prop 8 case. There is nothing to complain about for covering related issues while we await word on the Ninth Circuit decision whether to grant an en banc rehearing.

  • 5. Adam Bink  |  April 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    1. Look above this post to this piece permanently linked in the top:

    and you will find the answer. There is little else to report on, day after day.

    2. This site covered more than the Prop 8 trial starting a long, long time ago. If you haven't read the comments on New York State/marriage, or DADT repeal in the Senate, or the DOMA trials, folks find it interesting and worthy of discussion. Welcome!

  • 6. Bill S.  |  April 28, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Until the 9th Circuit issues a decision regarding whether or not to hear an appeal of Perry v. Brown en banc, there is nothing to cover. They can issue this decision at any time and no one knows when it will come. So instead of twiddling their thumbs, the people on this site are covering other gay marriage-related stories. I hardly see this as something to be angry over.

  • 7. Bob  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Jamie,,,, stop being what you HATE!!!!!! cause that was pissy!!!!!!

    I love LOVE Scottie,,,, he's current and brings up to the minute news about the LGBT EQUALITY BATTLE!!!! across the country,,,, everyone knows prop8 is tied up in court,,,, any wiff of movement in that case would be front and centre here,,,,, meanwhile,,,,,, we're moving forward on other fronts,,,,,, it's all good

    thanks again Scottie!!!!

  • 8. Bob  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

    plus if you rephrased your post and asked for an update,,, he might even find the time to do that, or direct you to the latest, if it hasn't changed

  • 9. New  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

    OT- I have a question about Prop 8 trial:

    "I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals."

    Robert Spitzer. M.D.
    Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry,
    Columbia University

    I believe Dr. Spitzer's study was submitted as scientific evidence by the prop8 defense side, about mutability of sex orientation.
    Does this apology change anything about the validity of that evidence for the courts from now on?

  • 10. _BK_  |  April 29, 2012 at 3:33 am

    I too would like to know the answer to this question.

  • 11. brad  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Civil Unions?? Well, when gay couples do get the civil union, i hope they STATE they are now MARRIED to friends family etc…it wont make ONE iota of difference.
    This is the silliness of not calling it marriage and instead calling it civil unions….I really wish the USA would just QUIT already with the anti Gay BS….i am SO glad i live in Canada….

  • 12. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  May 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    […] Colorado House Judiciary Committee, on a 6-5 vote, passed a civil unions bill which was approved in the Senate last week.  This same committee was the one that rejected the measure last year, […]

  • 13. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  May 5, 2012 at 8:48 am

    […] have been reporting on the civil unions bill in Colorado, and yesterday the bill passed the House Judiciary and House […]

  • 14. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  March 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    […] in the Centennial state that has lasted for almost a year.  In April 2012, the Colorado Senate passed a civil unions bill 23-12, with three Republicans joining a unanimous Democratic caucus to vote in […]

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