DENVER (AP) – Civil unions for gay couples advanced a Colorado House committee Thursday, with one Republican becoming emotional as she joined Democrats in voting yes for a bill that’s expected to become law this year.
Republican Rep. Carole Murray said she has some concerns about the bill because it doesn’t provide legal protections to people, and religious organizations disagree with civil unions and don’t want to provide certain services. She said she was still compelled to vote for the bill granting same-sex couples rights similar to marriage.
“Most important, as my upbringing has taught me, it’s not for me to judge others, but to leave that up to God,” she said choking up. “While on earth, Jesus asked us to love one another. In this spirit, I will be a yes vote,” she said.
The measure passed the House Judiciary Committee on a 8-3 vote with Murray as the only Republican vote in favor. Murray, who represents a conservative district in Castle Rock, said she realized the possible implications of her vote. She cited lawmakers who have said they continued to have a life after politics.
House Republicans have defeated the bill in the previous two years, but it’s expected to become law this year because Democrats supporting the proposal control the Legislature. Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign it.
About a dozen states already allow either civil unions or gay marriage.
The bill still needs to be considered by the full House.
The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who is the first gay lawmaker to hold that title in Colorado.
“While I have the honor of being the Speaker of the House, my family doesn’t have equality under the law,” he said.
Civil unions would grant gay couples rights similar to marriage, including enhanced inheritance and parental rights, among others. They would also have the ability to make medical decisions for their partners.
By IVAN MORENO, Associated Press
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)