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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 5
One step forward, one step back
Section One
ALL STORIES
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One step forward, one step back

Civil unions advance in Colorado but stall in Wyoming

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Civil unions for same-sex couples appear to be moving forward in Colorado, but a bill to legalize them in Wyoming was rejected by the state House of Representatives.

The Colorado Senate Appropriations Committee approved a civil unions bill on January 31, by a 4-3 vote. The measure had been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee the previous week.

The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration. According to the Denver Post, it is expected to pass, and if it does it will become effective in May.

If passed, SB-11 will give committed Gay and Lesbian couples most of the protections and responsibilities of marriage, including family medical leave, medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, cohabitation in a nursing home, and joint adoption.

SENATE PASSAGE EXPECTED
Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, an LGBT rights organization, said he expected the bill to pass the Senate and go to the Wyoming House.

'Committed Gay and Lesbian couples in the state have been waiting for years - 10, 20, even 40 years - to have their relationships protected. It's well past time that these families have equal protection under the law.

'We applaud the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee who voted to affirm that all families are worthy of dignity and respect. We look forward to bipartisan passage on the floor of the Senate.

'Our community isn't advocating for civil unions in order to achieve some historic victory for Colorado. We're advocating for our families - for the couples that have been together 40 years, for the kids whose parents aren't treated equally in the eyes of the law, for the Gay student who finally sees his government recognizing who he is. That's what we're fighting for.'

MARRIAGE INITIATIVE FILED
Meanwhile, a 17-year-old high school senior filed a 2014 ballot initiative that would amend the Colorado constitution to allow same-sex marriage.

Zoe Mandelski told Denver Post reporters she is straight, but she adopted the issue as a civics class project because she found it 'interesting.'

'It seems like a nonissue to me, but I guess that's my generation's view on it,' she said after filing the initiative in January 28. 'I do personally support Gay marriage, but my parents don't.'

Colorado voters amended their constitution to ban Gay and Lesbian marriages in 2006.

SETBACK IN WYOMING
In Wyoming, on the other hand, the state House voted down a civil unions bill, 35-24. The measure had been approved by the House Judiciary Committee on January 30, by a 7-2 vote.

It was the first time in Wyoming history that pro-Gay legislation actually reached the floor of the House for debate. A similar bill was rejected by the House Judiciary Committee in 2011 by a narrow 5-4 vote.

A separate bill to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation cleared Wyoming's Senate Judiciary Committee on January 30. That bill now heads to the full Senate. The same committee had rejected a marriage equality bill by a 5-4 vote only minutes before.

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