Joins eight other states that have civil unions or similar lawsColorado Governor John Hickenlooper today signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex civil unions in his state.
The new law provides gay and lesbian couples with such legal protections and responsibilities as the ability to take family leave to care for a partner, to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner, to live together in a nursing home, and to adopt children together.
During his annual State of the State address in January, Hickenlooper challenged the state legislature to move forward by saying: 'This year, let's do it. Let's pass civil unions!'
He had also publicly supported civil unions during his address a year earlier.
The law takes effect May 1.
It was just seven years ago that the state voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. It will join eight states that have civil unions or similar laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.
Among those present at the signing was Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, a gay Denver Democrat who backed the bill.
'With the Governor’s signature here today, the protection of Colorado’s laws will now extend equally to all,' Ferrandino said in a statement. Thousands of Colorado families will now be able to receive the recognition they deserve.'
He added: 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Colorado sun now warms all our people.