John Hickenlooper, Joann Ginal, Mark Ferrandino,

The Colorado government, now completely run by Democrats, has done an about-face regarding civil unions for gay couples. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill allowing same-sex civil unions roughly a year ago after the same idea went down to defeat in what was then a Republican-led House. But last November Democrats won the House, having control of the Senate already, and the new alignment allowed the bill to be passed. It will go into effect May 1.

Most of the Republicans in the state government held fast against the measure because they wanted religious exemptions granted to those who oppose same-sex unions. Although churches are exempt, businesses and adoption agencies are now subject to the new law.

Colorado has been a center for the battle over same-sex civil unions for decades. In 1992, an amendment was passed banning municipal antidiscrimination laws. In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional.

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