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DENVER-- The House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday evening to advance a state civil unions bill that would grant legal recognition to same-sex couples. The bill died in the same Republican-controlled committee last year but on Thursday won the deciding vote of Loveland Republican Rep. B.J. Nikkel.
DENVER-- At a state Senate committee hearing on a same-sex civil unions bill held here Wednesday, a series of witnesses battered Republican lawmakers opposed to the bill, suggesting they were confused in their ideology, nonstrategic in their thinking and enslaved to an outdated anti-gay "hateful bigoted mantra." The harsh criticism came not from Democrats and their allies but from Republicans testifying in favor of the bill on the basis of conservative principles and out of partisan interest in the future success of the party.
Denver Senator Pat Steadman's re-introduced same-sex civil unions bill is being heard this afternoon in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although the bill will be passed easily by the committee's Democratic majority, the hearing will be the staging ground for this year's arguments for and against it, drawing the attention of political analysts, members of the public and lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature looking to gauge the direction and intensity of political winds in an especially charged election year.
Survey results released by Public Policy Polling this week underline broad support in Colorado for some form of legislation that would grant gay couples equal partnership rights. Although Republican members of the House Judicial Committee last year quashed a popular civil unions bill, PPP found that even among Colorado Republican voters, support for civil unions-style legislation is now nearing 60 percent.
Conservative state Senator Shawn Mitchell voted against the same-sex civil unions bill introduced this legislative session in Colorado, and there was nothing surprising about that. He did surprise, however, with his silence on the chamber floor during debate and with his absence in the media coverage around the bill. Turns out Mitchell, a high-profile opponent of gay rights in the past but also a strong libertarian and no prude, was waffling.
The gay and lesbian community are one step closer to being able to participate in state sanctioned unions after the Colorado Senate voted to pass on second reading SB 172. Democrats heralded the bill as a historic moment in the fight for civil rights and the protection of children.
Denver mayoral candidate Michael Hancock Tuesday urged members of the Colorado State Senate to quickly pass the civil union legislation. Senate Bill 172 had been expected to be on the Senate floor earlier this week but has since been postponed. It may be heard today.
Thursday, Denver Mayoral Candidates James Mejia and Doug Linkhart issued statements endorsing the civil unions bill currently making its uncertain way through the Legislature. They join fellow candidate Chris Romer who issued a similar statement earlier this week.