Three: The number of Colorado Republican House members on record so far as favorable to passing civil unions bill

Three: The number of Colorado Republican House members on record so far as favorable to passing civil unions bill

It’s not exactly a tidal wave. But the three Republican members of the House who have gone on record as supportive of state Senator Pat Steadman’s civil unions bill suggests Democratic House sponsor Mark Ferrandino is right to be confident that the bill will pass if it could somehow climb over likely House committee hurdles.

John Schroyer at the Colorado Springs Gazette Tuesday got a provisional “yay” from El Paso County Republican Marsha Looper.

“Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, said she supports civil unions, as long as the definition of marriage remains between a man and a woman.”

Steadman has made clear that his bill does not attempt to alter the one-man-one-woman marriage definition put in place by Amendment 43 in 2006, and he has gotten heat from gay activists as a result.

Lynn Bartels at the Denver Post nabbed a quote from Adams County Republican Rep. Kevin Priola. He gave the same caveat as Looper.

“But Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, who will be the speaker pro tem next year, said he supports civil unions “in concept, precisely because they are not gay marriage.”

And Ernest Luning at the Colorado Statesman in roughly the middle of last month reported Arapahoe County Rep. Kathleen Conti’s eloquent endorsement of the bill.

“The outpouring I’ve had so far from my town halls leads me to support it,” she said, adding that her position exhibits “a desire to be a representative of the people and for the people.”

Ferrandino has said right now he thinks he can count on 10 or 11 5 to 10 GOP votes should the bill make it to the floor of the House. That’s a long way off. Republicans Ferrandino has to win over on some level are those who sit on whatever committee to which House Speaker Frank McNulty assigns the bill. Steadman has said he thinks his bill may well start in the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Colorado Springs Republican Bob Gardner.

On Monday, Gardner told Schroyer he has yet to make up his mind on the bill.

“[Gardner] said he has not supported civil unions in the past but promised to give the bill a fair examination.”

Edit note: Rep. Ferrandino clarified since this story posted that he believes he can count on 5 to 10 Republican votes in the House, not 10 to 11.

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John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
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