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Topics In the News
 
Republicans Filibuster Colorado Civil Union Bill to Death
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 05/09/12
Last updated on: 05/09/12
 
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Activist Jace Woodrum blames the Republican leadership for the filibuster.

While North Carolina voters enshrined discrimination into their constitution, Colorado Republicans filibustered a civil unions bill into oblivion.

As Lynn Bartels reports in The Denver Post, Colorado's civil unions bill, which passed by the Senate last week, was unexpectedly voted out of a crucial House Committee on May 2, 2012 and seemed to be on its way to adoption in the House.

However, conservatives who believed the bill would die in the Judiciary Committee for the second year in a row were enraged by the turn of events and lobbied Speaker of the House Frank McNulty and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens to use every procedure to kill Senate Bill 2.

Consequently, McNulty and Stephens simply stalled, and finally time ran out. The bill died on the House calendar on May 8, 2012, taking down more than 30 other measures with it. Republican Speaker of the House Frank McNulty abruptly adjourned the House as Coloradans watching in the gallery started chanting: "Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Throughout the evening, Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and a supporter of gay rights, worked with legislative leaders to try to break the impasse, briefly meeting with McNulty outside the speaker's office.

The civil unions bill had to be debated Tuesday in order to qualify for a vote today on the final day of the session.

At least five Republicans had publicly said they support the measure, meaning that had it been voted on, it would have passed, which is why the conservatives resorted to the filibuster.

Democratic Senator Pat Steadman of Denver said that the Republican who filibustered the bill "have brought dishonor and ill repute to the House. They ought to be ashamed."

At a rally at the capitol before the vote, Jace Woodrum, deputy director for One Colorado, the state's largest gay rights group, said, "No matter what happens today or tomorrow, the unspoken truth in this whole debate is we will win."

"Whether it is today or tomorrow or next year or the next, we will win. Gay and lesbian couples in this state will have full protection under the law. We all know it, and everybody in this building knows it," she said.

In the video below, Woodrum explains what happened and blames the Republican leadership for the filibuster.

UPDATE: According to Colorado Springs television station KRDO, Governor Hickenlooper has announced that he will call a special session of the legislature to resolve the civil unions bill, as well as several other bills that were left pending.

 
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