A proposal to provide gay couples rights similar to marriage passed its first vote from Colorado lawmakers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Jan. 23 from dozens of proponents and opponents of a civil unions bill that Democrats are expected to send to the governor's desk this legislative session.
The hearing and 3-2 vote was the first on the legislation this year.
Democrats tried unsuccessfully the last two years to pass civil unions, but House Republicans have defeated the measure. The bill is expected to become law this year because Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper supports the measure.
One Colorado, a progressive coalition, is leading the effort to pass the bill, with hopes to have victory by Valentine's Day.
More than a dozen states allow either civil unions or same-sex marriage.