DENVER – In the waning hours of the legislative session, the fate of the civil unions bill will be determined today by the House Appropriations Committee – ending the suspense of whether Senate Bill 2 would live or die.
Caught in the crossfire are House Speaker Frank McNulty and Majority House Leader Amy Stephens who were hit with hundreds of emails and phone messages from proponents demanding the bill be heard and opponents demanding that it be killed by Republican leadership.
It is expected that the bill will pass the committee, which convenes at 1:30 p.m., receive a second reading before the House this evening and be approved on the third reading on Wednesday – if it is heard on the final day of this legislative session.
Bill sponsors House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino and state Sen. Pat Steadman, both Denver Democrats, aren’t taking its passage for granted. Ferrandino said that he’ll use every procedure possible to ensure the bill is heard before the House Committee of the Whole.
On the west steps of the Capitol today, an estimated 200 demonstrators holding signs, “GET IT TO THE FLOOR” and “Support our Families “ heeded the urgent call to rally issued by Out Front Colorado, an LGBT organization.
“If the bill dies, thousands of committed same-sex couples will spend another year in jeopardy. They and their families will go without the critical legal protections they so desperately need to be equal to their heterosexual counterparts,” stated the call.
Recalling the bill’s death last year, Out Front Colorado told supporters “Send a message to House Speaker Frank McNulty, Majority Leader Amy Stephens and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Jon Becker. The time for civil unions has come.”
“All the House Leadership has to do is either be on the right side of history – or get out of her way!”
Republicans McNulty of Highlands Ranch and Stephens of Colorado Springs have repeatedly stated their opposition to the civil unions bill, but they were the targets of a blast email issued by Conservative Colorado and fliers placed on thousands New Life Church members’ cars by Colorado for Family Values over the weekend.
“Our party and state are at a tipping point. If nothing is done soon, the Colorado State Legislature will usurp the will of the voters and pass Civil Unions,” said El Paso County GOP Vice Chair David Williams on behalf of Conservative Colorado.
“Unfortunately there are some within our own party that are willing to help the extreme left,” said Williams, who had testified against the bill before the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill was passed by the committee on May 3 after state Rep. B.J. Nikkel (R-Loveland) voted with Democrats in favor of the measure, and was advanced again by the House Finance Committee on May 4 when state Rep. Don Beezley (R-Broomfield) broke ranks.
Williams urged conservatives to contact McNulty and Stephens to “defeat the liberal progressives in both parties.”
Colorado for Family Values declared, “There is little time to stop this bill, but so far Rep. Stephens has refused to stop the bill creating homosexual marriage through so-called ‘civil unions.”
“As a fellow member of New Life Church, please contact Amy today and ask her to use her position as the Majority Leader in the Colorado House to stop homosexual marriage… and to stand for the sanctity of marriage.”
Colorado for Family Values pushed the controversial Amendment 2 that was narrowly approved by voters in 1992, but later overturned by the courts because it discriminated against a class of citizens. According to the Secretary of State’s website, CFV was dissolved in April 2002, and reactivated in July 2007.