A Senate committee passed a bill to legalize civil unions by a 3 to 2 vote, with Republicans opposing.
The vote came after lawmakers heard hours of testimony from gay couples and supporters of traditional marriage on the civil unions legislation. It's the first of several votes before the bill could become law.
"Jeremy, like every child, should be able to grow up with the security of knowing that his parents' relationship is recognized by his state's legal system," civil union supporter Fran Simon said.
Democrats tried unsuccessfully the last two years to pass civil unions. House Republicans have previously defeated the measure, but Democrats now control the Legislature and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill.
More than a dozen states allow either civil unions or same-sex marriage.
Catholic organizers plan to protest at the state Capitol on Friday.
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