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Civil unions bill on way to governor's desk, One Colorado plans celebration event

brad clark one colorado 205x205.jpg
Brad Clark.
It's been a long time coming. After a bill to legalize civil unions in Colorado fell short in both 2011 and last year, the measure finally passed the Colorado House today.

Next, the legislation heads to the desk of Governor John Hickenlooper, who's promised to sign it.

This breakthrough delights Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, whose advocacy organization has been instrumental in keeping the civil unions fight in the state alive. And the group has already scheduled a celebration soiree.

"Without a doubt, it's exciting," notes Clark about the bill's approval. "Couples have waited ten, twenty, sometimes forty years for this moment. So it's very exciting to see their relationship and their commitment finally recognized."

The key to victory was the November election, when Democrats regained control of the Colorado House. During the past two years, the state senate passed the measures, but the Republican-controlled House guaranteed that they got no further.

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Photo by Ladd Bosworth
Brad Clark at a 2012 civil unions rally.
The political turnaround accomplished this session with the help of gay legislators such as bill co-sponsor Senator Pat Steadman and House speaker Representative Mark Ferrandino is "entirely satisfying," concedes Clark, who pays special tribute to "committed gay and lesbian couples for their hard work, their willingness to be open about their lives, their courage in coming to the legislature year after year to talk about their lives and their families. That's really the greatest victory."

Not that he views civil unions as the end of the road. "Certainly this is a huge step, and our courageous legislature did a very big thing today," he stresses. "But there's no mistaking the fact that for gay and lesbian couples here and across the country, this is not marriage."

Will One Colorado push full marriage-equality legislation, perhaps as early as the 2014 legislative session? Clark says it's too soon to know where the organization will head next. "Right now, we'll definitely be celebrating and enjoying this great victory, and really focusing on May 1, when these couples will be having their relationships recognized."

Clark's reference is specific as well as general. One Colorado is sponsoring The Civil Soiree on April 30 at the McNichols Building Civic Center. "We'll be having a dinner and dessert reception," he says. "And then couples will be able to go across the street and get their civil unions. The clerk and recorder's office has agreed to open at midnight, so people can start as soon as they can."

For more information about the event, which will feature an appearance by Denver mayor Michael Hancock, click here. In the meantime, look below to see a Human Rights Campaign release providing more details about the passage of the civil unions bill, followed by a video of Clark and colleague Jace Woodrum talking about the issue prior to the 2012 legislative session.

The HTC release:

Civil Unions Bill in Colorado Headed to Gov. for Signature

Colorado becomes eighteenth state to offer comprehensive benefits and obligations to same-sex couples

WASHINGTON -- Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, commended the Colorado General Assembly for passing the Colorado Civil Union Act, which provides gay and straight couples the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted to married spouses under Colorado state law.

"The Colorado legislature has taken a definitive step forward in the march toward equality," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "The passage of civil unions in the Centennial State is further proof that full equality for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples is in sight. From now on LGBT couples in Colorado will no longer be legal strangers in the eyes of their state, but rather recognized and supported by the law."

Sponsored by Sens. Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzman in the Senate, and Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Rep. Sue Schafer in the House of Representatives, the bill passed the senate last month 21-14, and today 39-26 in the house. Advocates at One Colorado worked tirelessly to secure passage of this bill. Gov. John Hickenlooper, a vocal supporter of the legislation, is expected to sign the bill into law immediately and couples will be able to apply for a civil union license beginning on May 1.

Colorado becomes the eighteenth state - plus Washington, DC - to offer comprehensive benefits and obligations to same-sex couples. Nine states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington) and Washington, DC issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And as of May 1, nine states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island) provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples within the state.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

More from our Politics archive: "Defense of Marriage Act ruling shows courts rejecting marriage inequality, activist says."


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18 comments
MisterAK47
MisterAK47

OK Queers & Stoners, we'll GIVE YOU Denver, Boulder, Aspen & whatever other areas want to let George Soros choose whose elects your candidates via VOTER FRAUD in your 'Gun Free La La Land' - as Shoplifting Bad Check-writers like Rhonda Fields BLAMES Law-Abiding Gun Owners for her son being KILLED because he SNITCHED on his fellow Gang-Members... 

But 'We the People' SEEKING FREEDOM must NOW adopt a 'Nuclear Option' & BREAK Colorado into 2 States via a BALLOT INITIATIVE - WHERE Foreign Companies WILL NOT COUNT OUR VOTES (like SCYTL was used to have 116% Voters in Colorado in 2012) as not all of us want to LEAVE the Rocky Mtns. for Texas or barren Wyoming = CONTACT 720-940-1458 or 
conservativestatecolorado@yahoo.com

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Did the Gays -- like the Stoners -- restrict themselves to "No Open Public Display" ?


Monkey
Monkey

If republicans had the same passion for freedom when it came to homosexuals and cannabis, as they do for gun owners, I might be a republican. Too bad they're just as confused about civil liberties as the democrats. 

Shannon Fender
Shannon Fender

"It's" = abbreviated for "it has." They're correct.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

             *** Regulate Civil Unions Like Alcohol! ***

                         *** Regulation Works! ***


... oh wait! ... Gays are way smarter than Stoners.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 *** Regulate Civil Unions Like Alcohol! ***

             *** Regulation Works! ***

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey ... that you'd ever consider being be a repuglycan, or think that repuglikkkans and democrats are in any way equivalent, shows just how delusional you are.


orson
orson

Fyi - "the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KKK

History shows the founding of the kkk has its roots in the DEMOKKKRATIKKK party.  The 2 parties have more in common than most care to admit.

orson
orson

I agree with monkey.  Fundamentally, the republican party has some qualities that are appealing like the state rights core value.  Unfortunately in practice the republican party can't seem to do what they preach which is a problem.  The democratic party also exhibits similar hypocrisy is many areas.  Instead of focusing on the differences more people should be focusing on the similarities.  We're all americans with many similar beliefs regardless of our personal political affiliations.  There is common ground between the two parties, and all parties, but the exremists in each speak the loudest as usual drowning out the reasonable views. The failure to see the commonality is a big problem that continues to cause divide in our country.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@orson "Yes the republican party has been taken over by religious bigots"

Bigots, Racist and Haters that the Repugs deliberately courted for political gain.

@orson "polar opposites" ?

The KKK and the Religious Bigots are BOTH firmly within the Repuglycan party, in practice and in philosophy.

The "trick" is figuring out how to eliminate those lowlife scumbags from Planet Earth. Until then, the Repuglycan Party -- which nurtures and foments their hatred and prejudice -- shall be treated like the diseased pariahs that they are.

ps. it'd be a heck of a lot easier for you to face reality and switch parties than to attempt to rescue the dying -- deservedly so -- Repug party. 

orson
orson

@DonkeyHotay  Yes the republican party has been taken over by religious bigots.  My point was the same thing happened to the democratic party years ago and they are responsible for creating the kkk.  Both parties are flawed and both have reasonable core values amidst their insanities.  The trick is figuring out how to get these polar opposites to drop their extreme views and concentrate on the middle ground.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@orson ... the Southern Dixiecrat Racists of yesteryear are now firmly within the Reguglykkkan party in their current incarnation.

The Modern KKK is 100%% Red State Repug-Teabagger in ALL their "values".


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@orson ... good luck with that. 

Perhaps you can also help the Mormons and Utah regain their Religious Freedom and "States Rights" to Polygamy while you're out tilting at windmills.

"Religious Freedom" is another one of those Repuglycan "core values" you admire so much, isn't it?


orson
orson

@DonkeyHotay   Nothing is ever permanently settled in an ever-evolving democracy.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@orson "the state rights core value."

Argued and Settled ... back in 1865


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