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May 3, 2012 6:22 AM by Kate Richards

Civil unions face Colorado House

DENVER (AP) - The debate over whether gay couples should have civil unions in Colorado faces a defining moment in the Republican-controlled House.

Senators approved the bill for the second consecutive year, but it's now in the hands of the same House committee that rejected it last year.

Supporters of the legislation plan a rally outside the state Capitol Thursday before the vote.

Civil unions grant same-sex couples rights similar to those of married couples, including the ability to be involved in partners' medical decisions. It also would enhance inheritance and parental rights.

Republicans have argued civil unions diminish marriage.

More than a dozen states allow either gay marriage or civil unions.

Democratic Rep. Mark Ferrandino says the bill has enough support to clear the full Colorado House if it gets there.

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