We Won A Thing: Colorado Civil Unions Pass The House

Civil Unions officially passed the Colorado State House today, 39-26! It passed the Senate back in January and now Governor Hickenlooper will sign the bill as soon as it comes to his desk. We’ll be able to start getting civilly unioned in May! You can read the entire SB-11 on the Colorado State legislature website and you can watch a replay of the bill being passed here.

"House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, left, and Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, both gay, sponsored Senate Bill 11, allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions." via {The Denver Post}

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Rep. Sue Schafer co-sponsored Senate Bill 11.
via {The Denver Post}

If you watched the House discuss the bill yesterday and initially pass it, you probably laughed, cried, and screamed at your computer or television. You were probably outraged that mostly they talked about children (“thiiink of the chiiildren”) and Catholic Charities, an adoption agency . Why? Because Catholic adoption agencies have threatened that they’re going to stop adoption services in the state if civil unions are legalized. Rep. Lori Saine tried to make the case that same-sex couples already have like, a ton of equal rights, so why should we even bother with this, am I right?  “What is in this bill that isn’t already in the law?” she said. She urged a yes vote on the religious adoption discrimination amendment. Another representative said the bill was actually reverse discrimination to people who don’t want gays to adopt kids.

All amendments to protect the rights of religious adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples failed. Well, now we get to see what dramatics ensue.

Republicans in the house tried to cling onto the one last hope by trying to put it to a vote of the people. This failed as well.

Not all Republicans voted no for the bill, including Rep. Cheri Gerou, who said, “What I think this bill is really about is personal freedom and individual liberties. I think this is a good conservative bill.”

This is a monumental move for Colorado, which was previously known as the “Hate State” for passing a law in 1992 making it legal to discriminate against LGBT people (the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law in 1996). We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? Civil unions will be available to Colorado residents beginning in May.

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. I love the idea of this blowing the minds of James Dobson and Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs

  2. once more with feeling:

    get high and get married in colorado

    it’s an easy breezy weezy kind of wedding in colorado state

  3. Hansen, I’m waiting for an invitation to the upcoming civil union ceremony…*cough cough*

    (Also, nice profile photo!)

  4. This is so exciting!! I love living in New England but sometimes I feel marriage-trapped here with so few states offering same sex unions. Like I can’t leave because then I’ll never be able to get married. Marriage-trapped? Is that a thing?

    • Totally a thing. I feel the same way. And there are so many awesome places that I feel like I can’t move to and explore.

    • i totally get that feeling, i just moved from illinois (which is moving quickly toward being awesome) to ohio (which is not).

  5. Whoooooooooooo! Good for Colorado! But ugh, I cringe almost every time I hear about the Catholic Church’s viewpoints ( discrimation) on same-sex adoption, same-sex marriage, etc. the list goes on.

  6. yay Colorado!

    “reverse discrimination to people who don’t want gays to adopt kids”
    but also what??

  7. Hoo-rah for Colorado and company! It’s nice to hear states coming around to the notion of equality. I have a dear friend in Colorado who is getting married in May so this is particularly welcoming news.

  8. I was in the legislature the day it went through. Crazy feeling to watch the votes come in so fast and pass. A surreal happiness we’ve fought hard for. Definitely a solid step in the right direction. Mark Ferrandino and Pat Steadman are champions!

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