PHOTOS: Denver Post
The Republican leadership of the Colorado House of Representatives has killed the civil unions bill after being called into special session by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill passed committee last week but the GOP leadership refused to bring to a floor vote where there wee votes for passage. The civil unions bill was sent to a "kill committee", reports the Denver Post.
The House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee shot down the bill on a 5-4 party-line vote, stopping it from getting to the House floor, where it likely would have passed, with a handful of Republicans joining Democrats.
House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, sent the bill to the state affairs panel, known as a "kill committee" because its members are in safe seats and can shoot down controversial bills with little worry of political consequences. That move dashed gay-rights supporters' hopes that the special legislative session might give the bill another chance of making it to the House floor, where its bipartisan support would allow it to move to the governor's desk and be signed into law.
Rep. Don Coram (R-Montrose) referred to [the] statewide vote in 2006 that rejected domestic partnerships and amended the state constitution. As he voted against the bill, Corum also spoke about his gay son. "He knows the situation and he knows that I love him very much. But he also knows that I'm a representative of all the people. And the majority of my district, they refer back to the 2006 vote and so that's why I voted for it," Coram said.
Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb has a gay son who died two years ago. Webb, Denver's first African-America mayor, spoke in favor of civil unions and urged legislators to "be on the right side of history." "This is the civil rights agenda for today," Webb said. "This is going to pass. The only question is who is going to have the courage to pass it."
The Republicans have a razor-thin 33-32 majority in the House. The defeat has energized many Democrats, who are expected to try to flip the majority in November.
Three Republicans joined all Democrats in March 2011 to support the measure 23-12 in the Democratic-led Senate. That was the same week the Colorado Democratic Party elected 36-year-old, Latino and openly gay Rick Palacio as their new president.
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