The Rocky Mountain state of Colorado, which went into the Democratic column for President Obama in 2008 and in 2012, continues its progressive agenda despite its conservative reputation (home of Focus on the Family and the U.S. Air Force Academy, and GWB carried the state twice). Last week, lawmakers in Colorado passed legislation to legalize civil unions for same sex couples and passed a bill requiring universal background checks on gun sales.
The civil union bill passed the Colorado House by a vote of 39-26 last Tuesday, and it had previously made it out of the state senate in February. Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill soon.
In a statement, the Human Rights Campaign, which is a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, said, “Colorado becomes the eighteenth state – plus Washington, DC – to offer comprehensive benefits and obligations to same-sex couples. Nine states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington) and Washington, DC issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And as of May 1, nine states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island) provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples within the state.”
On Friday, the Colorado state House and Senate passed a bill that mandates universal background checks for all gun buyers in the state. None of the Republicans in either of chambers of the state legislature supported this bill. The background check bill came just days after the legislature passed an ammunition limit law. Governor Hickenlooper is expected to sign the new gun control measures. Colorado is home to the Columbine school shooting massacre and more recently the Aurora movie theater mass shooting.
The gun control measures are significant considering Colorado is in the mountainous west, where hunting is popular. But as the state has become more urban, the demographics have changed, which is why this once solidly conservative state is becoming more Democratic in its policy making.