Denver legislators Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Mark Ferrandino saw their bill challenged by faith-based opponents of same-sex civil unions Monday, with most calling for tough love to bring those who had entered into sin back into the fold. Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said while he could not stop the bill in the Senate, his no vote was notice that the bill would serve to weaken the institution of marriage.
SB 172, Colorado’s Civil Unions Act, would give a couple of any gender combination the ability to enter into a civil union that mirrors many of the privileges provided by marriage. Among those privileges is the responsibility to care for children that come about as a result of the union, the ability to inherit property and one partner’s responsibility to make medical decisions for the other partner if so needed.
Lundberg said that when civil unions were implemented in France they were used more by heterosexual couples than by homosexual couples. He said the result was the weakening of marriage.
“Marriage itself becomes less of a priority. This is a fundamental change for Colorado law and for the culture within this state.”
While some opponents spoke against the bill as too small a step toward homosexual rights, most opponents spoke less to the bill and more to the fact they view homosexuality as a sin.
One man stated that legislators could not legislate immorality and said that the civil unions bill, when contrasted against the bible, was reprehensible on all levels.
Steadman said that few of the opponents spoke to the bill, which he said would provide very basic protections that would help both the economy and the stability of the family structure.
Jessie Ulibarri told the Colorado Independent that when his partner was hospitalized he had worried every day that he would be questioned as to whether he was part of the the man’s family when visiting him.
Ulibarri said that he spoke with Rep. John Soper, D-Thornton, who committed to supporting the bill. “I think for him and many other legislators it is the first time that they are hearing from constituents in their district that they lack basic legal protections.”
In the end, only Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, voted for the bill out of the four Republicans sitting on the committee. She told the Colorado Independent that while not an easy vote for her, one she would likely be hearing about from some of her constituents, it was the right thing to do.
While the bill will likely pass the Democratically controlled Senate, the House could block the bill from making its way to the Governor’s office.
Ferrandino said that while he had
10 or 11 5 to 10 Republicans on his side on the floor of the House, the bill’s prospect for success still lies in which House committee it lands in.
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. The Colorado Independent regrets the error.