civil union rally
Talitha Koehler, 27, of Denver, front left, Whitney Shook, 25, of Denver right, and supporters of Colorado civil unions gather in front of the Colorado State Capitol on Feb. 28, 2013 in Denver. (THE DENVER POST | Hyoung Chang)

It is about equality, freedom and love. Those were the overwhelming messages from gay-rights activists who attended a rally in support of civil unions on the west steps of the state Capitol Thursday.

"People have waited decades for this (bill)," said Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado.

More than two hundreds supports attended the rally.

One Colorado, the state's largest gay-rights group, invited rally attendees to watch the hearing afterward.

Most attendees held signs showing support while others sang songs, like, "What the World Needs Now."

The most recent incarnation of the civil unions bill will be heard Thursday in Judiciary Committee.

It is believed by experts the bill will finally become law this session.

Senate Bill 11 is sponsored in the House by two gay lawmakers, Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, and Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge. The measure already has passed the Senate.

Concerning the bill finally becoming law, Ferrandino said, "It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when ... this year it will be when."

Daniel Wesson of Denver said time had longed passed for civil unions to become law.


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"I was disappointed the way the bill died suddenly last year, especially after all the work that went into it," he said. "But I am confident it will pass, and I hope it spreads on the national level."

Following the rally, many hugs were exchanged among the crowd before people headed into the Capitol for the hearing.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has said he will sign the civil unions bill. Once approved, it becomes law on May 1.

Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, rparker@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ryanparkerdp