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Feb 8, 2013 3:02 PM by Alyse Rzemek

Civil unions gets initial nod in state Senate

DENVER (AP) - A civil unions law for same-sex couples took another step in the Colorado Senate as lawmakers took an initial vote in favor of the legislation.

Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman sounded emotional at times when he pitched the bill he's sponsoring to his colleagues. Steadman's longtime partner died of cancer last year.

Senate Democrats gave initial approval to the bill Friday, with one Republican joining them. One more vote will send the bill to the House, possibly as soon as next week.

Republicans defeated the measure in the House the last two years. But Democrats now control both chambers and vow speedy approval, seven years after voters banned gay marriage.

Democrats say civil unions are about equal rights. Republicans argue the bill infringes on religious beliefs.

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