Lots of people have been asking what’s going on with SB 2, the bill to create Civil Unions in Colorado. As you probably recall, SB 2 had a dramatic hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 15. Dozens of people testified in favor of the bill, often with compelling and emotional stories about their lives, their loves and their losses, and how SB 2 would impact them. Even more people sat in the audience wearing red shirts, jackets or ties as a symbol of solidarity. The Old Supreme Court Chamber at the State Capitol was packed full, standing room only.
In addition to the many who testified in favor of the bill, about ten people testified against the bill. Most of these were representatives of certain religious organizations. Yes, someone cited Leviticus. But it is important to note that members of the clergy also testified in favor of SB 2, as diverse views were presented from diverse congregations. Many community organizations sent representatives to offer their support, including the Colorado Bar Association, the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League and the League of Women Voters. Business leaders also offered their support. Republican organizations such as Coloradans for Freedom and College Republicans brought a refreshing new perspective as they spoke out for Civil Unions.
SB 2 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a vote of 5 to 2. Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) joined the four Democratic women senators on the committee in voting in favor of the bill.
The very next day SB 2 was heard in the Senate Finance Committee, as Senate rules required the bill to be referred to this committee and that Thursday was the deadline for committee action on early bills. The bill passed on a party-line vote of 4 to 3 and was then referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. I’m the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and there is a separate set of deadlines for all bills sent to this committee. Bills in Appropriations have some impact on the state budget, and most bills referred here must wait until the annual budget bill is passed. (You can read more about the fiscal impact by clicking here.) SB 2 is likely to remain pending before this committee until the end of March or early April. After it passes out of Appropriations SB 2 will be debated on the Senate floor, it will pass, and it will then be sent to the House.
In the meantime, support for SB 2 continues to build. Senators are receiving cards and letters, emails and phone calls each day asking us to pass SB 2. The list of newspapers editorializing in favor of SB 2 also continues to grow. In addition to the Denver Post, we’ve seen positive editorial endorsements from the Durango Herald, the Greeley Tribune, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and the Glenwood Springs Independent. There are several other newspapers that endorsed the bill last year that I’m expecting to hear from in the coming weeks.
Momentum is on our side. “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” Stay tuned.