A Republican state Senator in Colorado has compared gay and lesbian people to murderers and adulterers.

Scott Renfroe was speaking during a debate on new legislation that would grant benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian state employees.

“I’m not saying this is the only sin that’s out there,” said Senator Renfroe.

“We have murder. We have all sorts of sin. We have adultery.

“And we don’t make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal.”

He added that in his view God is offended by homosexuals and regards them as an abomination. On the subject of women the Senator said they had been created as man’s helper.

Senate Bill 88 will allow state employees to apply for health insurance for their domestic partners.

It defines the term “domestic partner” for the purpose of qualifying as the dependent of a state employee.

The cost of the new bill to the state is estimated to be just $116,000 (£79,000) a year. It was approved yesterday but must pass another vote before it can be sent to the House.

The bill’s sponsor Jennifer Veiga told the Senate:

“This is not about marriage. This is about health care.

“If today is not the right time, then you’ve got to tell me when, because equality is equality is equality regardless of when we do it.”