A Republican-controlled House committee passed a bill that could ultimately provide same-sex couples with the right to civil unions in Colorado.
More after the jump.
Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), co-sponsored by openly gay Democrats, Pat Steadman in the Senate and Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino in the House, passed with a 6-5 vote after hours of testimony from same-sex couples.
The vote fell along party lines with the deciding vote ultimately coming from Republican Rep. B.J. Nikkel. She explained her vote citing her desire to see the bill get a fair vote by the full House, stating: “I’ve said all along that I would make sure that we would give the bill a fair hearing. It’s a good thing for all of my colleagues to have the opportunity to have a say on this. They represent all of Colorado and I believe that the correct way to do this is through the representative form of government that we have right here.”
(Okay, so it’s not a full-fledged endorsement of equality, but she’s moving in the right direction.)
SB 2 still faces committee hearings in both House Finance and House Appropriations.
Still, House Minority Leader Ferradino says, “Today was a huge step forward, where we saw that in this chamber, in this House, we now can say we have bipartisan support.”
Brad Clark, the executive director of One Colorado, a pro-LGBT activist group, singled out Rep. Nikkel, saying, “Today’s bipartisan vote is a tremendous victory for gay and lesbian couples across the state. We applaud Rep. Nikkel’s courageous vote for all families. She is the new face of the Republican Party — a party that’s quickly recognizing that civil unions adhere to a core conservative principle: the less intrusion into personal liberty the better.”
Colorado's state constitution currently recognizes marriage as existing solely between a man and a woman, hence the push for civil union legislation.
What do you think, Instincters? Is the tide starting to turn in Colorado? Will we see more bipartisanship on this issue? Are more Republicans stepping up for equality?