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Colorado Civil Unions Bill Passes Biggest Test Yet

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Supporters of the civil union bill being debated in the state House gather outside the state Capitol Thursday morning (credit: CBS)

Supporters of the civil union bill being debated in the state House gather outside the state Capitol Thursday morning (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (AP) — Gay couples campaigning for civil unions in Colorado have claimed their biggest victory yet as a key Republican-led House committee advanced a bill it had previously opposed.

The newfound support means Colorado is likely to become the latest of more than a dozen states to provide legal protections to gay couples similar to marriage.

The measure approved Thursday evening faces two more committee votes, but sponsors are optimistic they have enough support to get the legislation to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is firmly behind the plan.

The 6-5 vote came after hours of emotional testimony from gay couples seeking more authority in medical and end-of-life decisions and enhanced parental rights.

One Republican joined Democrats in approving the bill.

Opponents argue civil unions undermine traditional marriage.

The plan failed in this same committee last year.

By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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