Civil Unions Now Legal in Colorado

It's a long-awaited moment, Gov. Hickenlooper tells crowd

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 22, 2013 4:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's official: Civil unions are legal in Colorado. Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law yesterday before a big and emotional crowd. "Dearly beloved," said bill sponsor state Sen. Pat Steadman, to cheers. "We're going to make history." The bill marks a major shift for a state once dubbed the "hate state," the Denver Post notes. In 1992, voters backed Amendment 2, calling for a ban on anti-discrimination laws against gays.

"I was there on election night in 1992 with many of you, and I see your faces in this room," Steadman said. "That was a very tragic moment, and yet it gave us so much hope and so much momentum moving forward." But he noted that "there is still much to do," since the bill "is not an extension of equal rights." Hickenlooper, meanwhile, applauded "a moment that the whole community has waited for for so long." The AP notes that Colorado now joins eight states that have civil unions or similar laws; nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. The law takes effect May 1.

The Colorado Civil Unions Act awaits the signature of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, prior to a signing ceremony at the Colorado History Museum in Denver, Colo., on Thursday, March 21, 2013.
The Colorado Civil Unions Act awaits the signature of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, prior to a signing ceremony at the Colorado History Museum in Denver, Colo., on Thursday, March 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, center, exchanges high-fives with members of the State Legislature after he signs the Civil Unions Act into law.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, center, exchanges high-fives with members of the State Legislature after he signs the Civil Unions Act into law.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Hundreds of supporters gather to watch as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs the Civil Unions Act into law at the Colorado History Museum in Denver, Colo., on Thursday, March 21, 2013.
Hundreds of supporters gather to watch as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs the Civil Unions Act into law at the Colorado History Museum in Denver, Colo., on Thursday, March 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
A couple, dressed in Western attire, watch a ceremony at which Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Civil Unions Act into law.
A couple, dressed in Western attire, watch a ceremony at which Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Civil Unions Act into law.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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