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In his weekly column at the Denver Archdiocese website, Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated the death of state Senator Pat Steadman's same-sex civil unions bill. He said the bill was not about civil rights but about "securing legitimacy for personal behaviors that most societies and religious traditions have found problematic." He listed the names and addresses of the six Judiciary Committee Republicans who voted to kill the bill and asked Catholics to contact the lawmakers and thank them.
During an emotional eight-hour hearing on same-sex civil unions at the capitol in Denver Thursday, a long list of witnesses on both sides of the issue told emotional stories of life as gay and transgender Americans. More than a few wept as they talked about shame, discrimination and systemic bias. Others quoting scripture warned of the end times the bill would surely hasten unto the Centennial State should it pass. The five committee Democrats took turns agreeing and disagreeing with witnesses, debating theology, Constitutional history and the horrors of the Jim Crow South and the Holocaust. The six members of the majority bloc Republicans on the committee, however, had little to say. They watched and listened and, without really elaborating their positions, voted as a bloc against sending the legislation to the full House for debate and a vote. They stone-cold killed the bill.
This afternoon the state House Judiciary Committee will review Sen. Pat Steadman's civil unions bill and decide whether or not to send it to the full House for debate and roll call vote. The Fort Collins Coloradoan is the home paper for two of the majority Republicans on the committee, B.J. Nikkel and Brian DelGrosso, both of Loveland, and this morning the Coloradoan joined with newspaper editorial boards across the state in endorsing the bill. It urged committee members to "shelve the debate over same-sex marriage" and think instead about "provid[ing] equal protection under the law for those who seek to form a committed, legal relationship."
Activists, lobbyists and citizens this week have been pressing for at least one of six Republican members of the state House Judiciary Committee to vote in favor of sending Pat Steadman's same-sex civil unions bill to the House floor for debate. On Tuesday, the House Democratic caucus officially joined the campaign.
The coming debate in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee on same-sex civil unions bill SB 172 will center on Republican arguments for and against the legislation. The debate scheduled to take place under the Dome in Denver Thursday will underline the dynamics shaping the larger national debate on gay rights-- a debate that now pits Republicans against Republicans because Democrats and Independents have already made up their minds on the matter.
Colorado civil unions bill SB 172 may have passed out of the state Senate Thursday but the video shadow of the debate over the bill is growing on the internet. Berthoud Republican Senator Kevin Lundberg is drawing fact-checking and mockery for the discredited and reaching arguments he made against the bill on the floor of the Senate before his colleagues and the cameras of the Colorado Channel.
Senate Republicans delivered Pat Steadman's same-sex civil unions bill to the Republican-controlled House Thursday with momentum and a message. Although the twelve Republican men in the Senate voted against it, the three Republican women in the Senate voted in favor of the bill, making the case to leaders of the Republican-controlled House to take up the bill with good faith and allow it to move beyond committees and onto the floor of the House for a vote.
Openly gay Chairman of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans Troy Ard is lobbying colleagues and friends to support Senator Pat Steadman's same-sex civil unions bill making its way through the state legislature. Ard's support for the bill is personal, political and ideological. He wants to enjoy equal rights under the law as a gay American; he believes the Republican brand would benefit enormously by embracing gay rights; and he believes Americans should always be pushing their government to expand individual liberties.
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.
DENVER-- Durango Republican Senator Ellen Roberts has received awards for championing youth causes and praise from capitol watchers for taking non-partisan problem-solving stands on critical issues. So it was both remarkable and unsurprising that she voted Monday with five Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor same-sex civil unions legislation.
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