gay-weddings-coloradoA bill giving same-sex couples the right to enter into civil unions cleared the Colorado Senate on Thursday by a vote of 23-12, according to Reuters. The Colorado Civil Union Act (Senate Bill 172), sponsored by Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver would grant gays and lesbians many state-level spousal benefits, such as medical power of attorney and eligibility for insurance benefits.

The bill now heads to the Colorado House, where it faces an uphill battle against the Republican majority.

In supporting the bill, Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, told The Colorado Independent, “I believe the moral debate about whether this is right or wrong belongs in our faith communities, not in this building and not in this chamber.  You need the children [of gay couples] to know that they will be cared for. My core beliefs are that I believe strongly in protecting all people’s individual rights, freedoms and liberties, and for me this bill advances that.”

A hearing before the Colorado House Judiciary Committee that will determine if the bill is sent to the floor for a full vote is scheduled for Thursday, according to KWGN.