Same-sex couples scored a major victory on Thursday as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) made equality a reality by signing the civil unions bill into law. Colorado joins five other states as a place where same-sex couples can purchase a license and wed in a civil ceremony, including Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii, and Illinois.
Out Front Colorado wrote of the signing of the Colorado Civil Union Act:
“A new era of rights and responsibilities for the state’s gay and lesbian community” that “marked the end of a three-year journey that began Valentine’s Day 2011 on the north steps of the state’s Capitol when the bill’s sponsors, flanked by supporters, introduced the legislation for the first time.”
Civil unions legislation had previously failed twice in the Colorado legislature before finally winning approval this year. Some Republicans gave in to reason and compassion and joined Democrats into securing the measure’s final passage.
Governor Hickenlooper remarked during the signing ceremony:
“It is a moment the whole community has waited for, for so long. It’s the beginning of the country changing. A change has gotten here. And it’s going to keep going.” [Source]
The Governor isn’t wrong. Lawmakers in Minnesota and Nevada are also pushing for recognition of same-sex couples this year, along with other states. Plus, the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the spring. All in all, the country is moving forward on the issue of same-sex marriage more than ever before. So much so that any politician who stands in the way risks a backlash from the American people, a majority of whom support marriage equality.
The LGBT community has good reason to celebrate their newly gained equality. Now that civil unions are the law, same-sex couples are a step closer to achieving full marriage equality with heterosexual couples. For gays and lesbians living in a state surrounded by states that do not recognize civil unions or marriage equality, Colorado is now a beacon that may inspire those states to follow in its footsteps. The march towards equality continues on.