I didn't see this issue diaried anywhere, so I thought I would give you some information from the wild west.
It is now clear that civil unions will be the law in Colorado next week!! Considering this state passed an anti-gay marriage Constitutional Amendment several years ago by a wide margin.
But Colorado's exterme libertarian bent is showing up again.
And the most amazing thing, the State House is controlled by Republicans.
Story after the squiggle.
Last year a civil unions bill was passed by the Colorado Senate and killed in a House committee on a7-6 party-line vote.
This year, an election year, the billed was filed again by two openly gay legislators, Senator Pat Steadman of Denver and Representative Mark Ferrandino also of Denver, both Democrats. It passed in the Senate with bipartisan support and the support of the entire Democratic caucus.
It was assumed that the bill would again be killed in the State House. It was assigned to three committees, all of which were controlled by Republicans and where there was no expectation of a Republican vote needed to get the bill out of committee. It was assumed that Republican leadership had the votes in one or more of these committees to kill the bill, as the House is controlled by absolute nut-cases.
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to killing the bill. It went to the first committee, Judiciary. There was a hearing and a vote. During the vote Republican State Representative BJ Nikkel from Loveland, a former legislative aid to Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, voted to pass the bill out of committee. It was passed out of judiciary on a 7-6 vote on Thursday night.
While this was stunning it was assumed that it would be killed in the next committee. That was Finance Committee. Well, amazing happened again. Rep Don Beezley of Broomfield voted to move the bill out of committee. Yesterday, on a 7-6 vote, the bill was passed out of the Finance Committee.
On to the Approiations Committee. Well, that will occur Monday. And today, I am proud to announce that my friend and Republican State Legislator Cheri Gerou has announced that she will vote to move the bill to the full House, where it is assured of passage with all Democrats and at least 3 Republicans voting in favor of it. I want to thank Cheri for this brave stand. She is currently the Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee of the Coloado Legislature, arguably one of the two or three most important positions in Colorado as that committee essentially controls the budget and money spent in Colorado each year. She lives in a Republican district in the foothills west of Denver. I can only imagine what kind of retribution she will face. She is running this year and she does not have a primary, thank heavens. But, she is not term-limited. Hopefully she will run again for her fourth and final term. But that will be hard.
Cudos to all these Republicans who had the courage of their convictions and risked their political careers to support this important step.
The Governor has committed to signing this legislation.
I know that many of you here don't support civil unions because you consider it second class citizenship. But this passage is a significant milestone. Colorado is a relatively conservative state with a very, very conservative Republican Party. We have a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. We are a swing state. The two houses of the legislature are very evenly split. This is the state that passed Amendment 2 only 20 years ago which banned "special" rights for gay couples.
This is amazing. And I'm not gay and don't have any gay relatives and don't have any close gay friends. Congratulations Colorado. A cow town no more.