Following the approval of a Civil Union bill in its general assembly yesterday, the state of Colorado is set to offer same-sex couples legal recognition of their relationships.

The bill was passed by the senate last month and by the house on Tuesday with 39 in favour and 26 against.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who has been a vocal supporter of the legislation, is expected to sign the bill into law immediately and couples will be able to apply for a civil union license from May 1.

“The Colorado legislature has taken a definitive step forward in the march toward equality,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

“From now on LGBT couples in Colorado will no longer be legal strangers in the eyes of their state, but rather recognised and supported by the law.”

Colorado becomes the eighteenth US state – plus Washington, DC – to offer comprehensive benefits and obligations to same-sex couples.

Despite the progressive move forward, Colorado remains one of 30 states in the US to have a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman.

Nine states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington) and Washington, DC issue full 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.

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