by Chet Hardin
Well, this is a big day for Colorado. Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed the civil unions bill into law.
From a press release from the Majority Office of the Colorado State Senate:
Today is a historic day in Colorado! It is the day that we, as a state, afforded all Colorado families basic rights. Starting in May, all loving partners, regardless of gender, can commit to one another through a civil union.
“We’ve come a long way from the dark days of 1992, when voters added a discriminatory provision to the Colorado Constitution that excluded gays and lesbians from equal protection under state law. Looking back on this chapter of our history puts today’s victory in perspective. To say I am proud is an understatement. Yes, the road to equality is long and rocky, but I worked alongside the best of the best.” said Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver).
Advocate.com puts the new law into perspective:
The state is the source of a case that produced a landmark decision for LGBT equality from the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1996 justices ruled 6-3 in a case called Romer v. Evans to strike down Colorado's voter-approved Amendment 2 as unconstitutional. The amendment barred the state or any governmental unit within it from enacting laws prohibiting sexual orientation—based discrimination.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who activists are now counting on as a swing vote when the high court considers marriage equality starting next week, wrote the majority opinion. As a result, since 2007, Colorado has outlawed discrimination against anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Meanwhile, in 2006, Coloradans voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage by limiting marriage to "only between one man and one woman." Voters also made it clear they wouldn't recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.