Colorado, once branded a “hate state” for voting down gay marriage and various attempts at gay rights, has altered the course of its direction now that Democrats control the House and Senate: on Thursday the governor signed in the right for gay couples to get civil unions, joining eight other states who have similar civil union laws. The law will go into effect on May 1.
In 2006 the state banned same sex marriage, and Republicans are saying this civil union legislation is too much like marriage, thus denying the interests of voters.
“Even though it was specifically told to us that it wasn’t about marriage, I think both sides know that it is what it is about” said Republican Rep. Lori Saine speaking against the bill, as reported by the AP.
Rights under the civil union law will expand inheritance and parental rights as well as let partners make medical decisions together.
“It means I can change my name finally,” said 21-year-old Amber Fuentes, who will have a civil union with Yolanda Martinez, 34. “It’s not marriage, but it still gives us a lot of rights.”
When Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into effect, dozens of gay couples cheered “Equal! Equal!”
So far nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage, and nine states allow civil unions.