The Colorado House of Representatives have granted initial approval to legislation to introduce civil unions for same-sex couples.

During the debate, Republicans attempted to push forward amendments that would have allowed child adoption agencies and religious people the right to deny services to same-sex couples.

After preparing for what could be the Senate’s final vote on the SB-11, Colorado Civil Union Act, it passed 21 votes to 14 on the 11th of February. The measure will return to the House for a further vote tomorrow.

The bill was co-sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Mark Derrandino, the first openly gay lawmaker to hold the title in the state.

“While I have the honor of being the Speaker of the House, my family doesn’t have equality under the law,” he said.

The bill still has to pass in the full House, however it is expected to pass because it is now under Democratic control, and is likely to send the legislation to the Governor’s desk to be signed off.

Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, has also said that he plans to sign civil unions into law

The bill would allow gay and lesbian couples similar rights to marriage, which includes inheritance and parental rights, as well as the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners.

Democrats in the state have attempted to pass legislation to introduce civil unions for years.