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Supporters Of Both Sides Pack Civil Union Hearing At Capitol

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A civil union bill is debated in the state House Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

A civil union bill is debated in the state House Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) - Testimony at the state Capitol continued for hours Wednesday afternoon over a controversial civil union bill being debated in the Colorado Senate.

The measure addresses parental rights, allowing gay couples the ability to get involved in a partner’s medical decisions and end of life decisions and enhance property rights.

People on both sides of the issue packed the hearing at the state Capitol and gathered for prayer vigils in the hall.

This year the bill has a better chance of passing , but has created a rift in the GOP caucus. At least half a dozen Republicans in the House are publicly supporting the bill.

With a nearly guaranteed certainty the Senate will pass the bill, it will fall on the House to decide whether civil unions will be legal in Colorado.

Rep. Brian Delgrosso, a Republican representing Loveland, and in a tough primary this year, is considered the swing vote.

“It does put a lot of pressure on me because of that,” said Delgrosso. “I mean, I’ve heard from thousands and thousands of people from all over the country on both sides of this issue.”

Delgrosso remains undecided.

“I didn’t come here to just be a flag carrier for the Republican party and be a total Republican party hack. That’s not me,” said Delgrosso. “I’m going into this with an open mind.”

Another Republican breaking party ranks is Kevin Priola from Brighton.

“I see it’s consistent with my conservative values, treat everybody the same,” said Priola.

“The Republican party has always been about small, limited, less intrusive government,” said registered Republican Michael Carr.

Carr and his partner, Fred Bachhuber, are both Republicans. They helped pass the civil union bill in Illinois before moving to Colorado. They believe the bill is all about the Republican values of small government.

“The government’s job is to grant licenses, not to decide who should be married to who or how,” said Carr.

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