Focus on the Family: Colorado just can’t afford same-sex benefits bill

Focus on the Family Action takes to the airwaves this week with a radio ad opposing SB 88 — a bill that would add health benefits for same-sex domestic partners of state employees — because it’s just too darned expensive during a “global economic crisis,” Right Wing Watch reports. “Coloradans can’t afford this social experiment,” argues the political arm of the Colorado Springs-based conservative religious group.

The bill, sponsored by Democrats Sen. Jennifer Veiga and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the legislature’s two openly gay members, has made its way through two Senate committees and lands in front of the full Senate next week after being postponed a second time Friday.

Listen here to the 30-second Focus ad, which also lists the local Focus spin-off the Colorado Family Institute as a sponsor.

Here’s what the ad says:

According to Gov. Bill Ritter’s office, Colorado must shut down two prisons, cut $225 million from school funding and suspend property tax breaks for senior citizens just to keep our state afloat financially. And while the global economic crisis continues to take its toll, our Legislature is considering a bill that would use our tax dollars to fund benefits for the same-sex partners of state employees. We’re being told these benefits will cost over $100,000, but many fear that number has been grossly underestimated. The city of Aurora is debating a similar policy and they estimate it will cost them just under fifty grand a year, and that is for the employees of just one city.

Coloradans can’t afford this social experiment.

Please call the Senate main office at 303 866-2316 and ask your Senator to vote “no” on SB 88.

Let them know it is not okay to use our tax dollars in such an irresponsible way.

That’s right, Focus on the Family — the same evangelical media empire that laid off 20 percent of its employees while pouring more than $725,000 into California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 campaign last fall — is advising lawmakers on budget policy in a tough economy.

Colorado Pols wants to know how much of Focus on the Family’s charitable work faces elimination so “they can focus on what seems to matter most right now — wedge-issue political grandstands.” The political blog gives Focus credit for agility:

Adaptive, too: the bill in question has nothing to do with marriage whatsoever, you say? No problem, we’re fiscal hawks now!

But how many suicide hot line counselors got pink slips so they could run this ad?

Leaving aside the question of whether Focus is the best judge of what any large organization can afford when it comes to employees, the ad raises a question: Once the recession is over and Colorado no longer faces a budget crisis, will it be just fine with Focus if the state extends benefits to same-sex domestic partners? Or is this argument just good until the economy improves?

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Ernest Luning

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