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Civil unions: Can get there from here

Street Smarts

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By the time you read this, civil unions will be legal in Colorado. It may not be same-sex marriage, but it's a long way from where we were a couple decades ago.

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Josh Beaston of Fort Carson is in the Army

What's your read on Colorado's recognition of civil unions? I have no problem with it. I don't know why anybody else does, either.

How big a deal is it? It's a big victory for same-sex couples, but it's no big deal to me. I don't care at all about marriage for anybody whatsoever.

Does Colorado Springs differ culturally from other states you've been in? I'm originally from Minneapolis. Things there are pretty mixed together, but here there are pockets of extremes. You have liberals on one side and conservatives on the other, and they pretty much stick together. There's no inter-mixing.

How culturally accepting is this area today? Pretty accepting. My understanding is that there's a pretty strong gay community.

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Jacob Weiss of Lander, Wyo., works in energy efficiency

What do you know about Colorado's Amendment 2? Very little. That was before my time.

Have you been aware of Colorado being labeled "The Hate State"? No.

How, culturally, does Colorado Springs differ from other places you've lived? It seems to have a wider spectrum of political views than other places.

How culturally accepting is the area today? A bit better than small-town Wyoming, but pretty low in terms of other places I've lived.

Will recognizing civil unions change life in Colorado? It will for the people getting them, but it won't affect my life in the slightest.

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Kellie Abel of Durango is a hair stylist

How big a deal is it that Colorado now recognizes civil unions? It's a way bigger deal than it should be. It's gotten blown way out of proportion. We have more important issues to worry about.

Did Colorado earn its label as "The Hate State"? I don't think it's warranted. People doing the name calling probably don't live here.

How, culturally, has Colorado changed in the past 20 years? Before moving to Durango, I lived for 19 years in Crested Butte. That's a pretty liberal, open-minded area, and that's largely been my experience of Colorado. Now I'm about to move to Colorado Springs. I think it has a bad rap as far as being a super-conservative, in-your-face, ultra-Christian, Focus on the Family place. It is that, but it's also a matter of who you surround yourself with.

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