Same-gender partners of state employees could get health insurance under a new bill that seems bound to ignite a values debate in the Legislature, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The bill was introduced by Senator Jennifer Veiga and Representative Mark Ferrandino, both Denver Democrats and the state’s only openly gay legislators.

The two say the bill would bring equality, but several Republicans questioned why the bill would be introduced at a time when the state budget is contending with a massive deficit. Sixteen states and 22 cities and counties in Colorado provide same-gender benefits.

The city of Aurora is poised to be added to that list, according to the Aurora Sentinel. The paper reports that the Aurora City Council “narrowly” lent initial approval to a measure that provides benefits. The Colorado Independent is also following the story.