Same-sex couples can adopt each other’s children in Colorado thanks to a bill given preliminary approval Wednesday by the state Senate.

The bill passed on a party line voice vote over the objections of critics who accused majority Democrats of trying to override the voters’ will.

“This bill is about the homosexual agenda, and it’s not about what’s best for children,” said state Senator Scott Renfroe.

The Republican also said the measure “undermines marriage,” reports the Associated Press.

Senator Ted Harvey said that voters might have been somewhat supportive of civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but he has no doubt about where they stand on adoption by same-sex couples.

“The people of the state of Colorado, who may be split on civil unions, are not split on and are very adamant against same-sex adoptions,” he said according to the AP.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Jennifer Veiga, Democrat, Denver, disagreed.

“HB1330 does nothing to recognise any relationships,” Veiga said.

“What it does is recognise that there are gay couples out there who have kids.”

Veiga pointed out that the bill does not allow a gay couple to adopt a child that is un-related to either partner, leaving intact Colorado’s law prohibiting such adoptions.

She also argued that children growing up with two parents of the same gender fare as well as their counterparts in traditional families.

“There’s no evidence that children of gay or lesbian parents are any less likely to succeed than children of heterosexual parents,” she told AP.

“You cannot determine that, simply because kids were raised by gay parents, that they’re having any disadvantage compared to kids raised by heterosexual parents.”

Current Colorado law allows gay individuals to adopt, but a Colorado Supreme Court ruling bars same-sex couples from qualifying for step-parent or second-parent adoptions.

The AP reports that Democrat Senator Chris Romer kicked up another round of debate when he said the bill was about “unconditional love and people joining together to raise children.”

“Children do well when they are loved,” he said.

A number of national organisations of health care professionals, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society of Pediatric Psychology, have endorsed second-parent adoption laws as being beneficial to children.

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