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With The Governor's Signature, Civil Unions Become Law In Colorado

Bente Birkeland

Colorado is now the eighth state in the country to allow same sex couples to enter into a civil union.  Governor John Hickenlooper signed the measure into law Thursday in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

Last November, when Democrats regained control of both legislative chambers they said passing a civil unions law was a top priority.

Senator Pat Steadman (D- Denver), one of eight openly gay state lawmakers, has been working on gay rights issues for decades. He says LGBT Coloradans will finally have real inclusion in the fabric of society.

“This law provides real and meaningful protections to couples and families all across our state and this is absolutely an important milestone on our road to equality,” Steadman said.

Governor John Hickenlooper says signing the bill marked a bright spot in a tough week. The head of the state’s prison system was fatally gunned down at his home in Monument Tuesday night. During this moment, Hickenlooper put aside the tragedy and had a huge smile on his face.

“The gay, lesbian, transgender bisexual community is part of all of us. It’s part of our community, our lives, our friends, our families that there’s no excuse that people shouldn’t have the same rights,” he said.

Many in the crowd cried saying they didn’t think this day would ever come. Gay rights activists pledge that the fight isn’t over. They hope to push for full marriage equality. The state constitution bans gay marriage so the issue would need to go before voters.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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