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Colorado Civil Unions Bill Dies in Procedural Impasse

Colorado Civil Unions Bill Dies in Procedural Impasse


Colorado's latest attempt to pass a civil unions bill died Tuesday evening in what the Denver Post called "a late-night game of political chicken" between Republican Speaker Frank McNulty and House Democrats.

Pressured by social conservatives to kill the bill by any procedural means necessary, McNulty called a recess to prevent the bill, approved by a GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee last week and previously passed by the state Senate, from coming to the floor. The legislation required debate Tuesday to qualify for a vote Wednesday, the last day of the legislative session.

Via Denver Post:

When Republican Speaker Frank McNulty acknowledged there was an impasse and abruptly ended his news conference on the House floor, Coloradans watching in the gallery started chanting: "Shame on you! Shame on you!"

At least five House Republicans supported the measure, meaning if the bill had been debated it would have passed, which is why some observers were so infuriated.

The stunning turn of events on the second-to-last day of the 2012 session had been brewing since Thursday, when a Republican lawmaker voted with Democrats to pass the civil unions bill out of committee. (Read the full article here.)

Tim Gill, founder of the Gill Foundation and Gill Action, based in Denver, told The Advocate of the bill's demise, "It is unfortunate that Republican leaders chose to ignore the many personal stories of committed, loving couples who simply want to be treated fairly under our laws.

"Using parliamentary gimmicks to kill the civil unions bill does not represent the Colorado that we all know and love," Gill said.

The civil unions legislation, known as Senate Bill 2, would have afforded unmarried couples many of the same legal rights and benefits of marriage, including second-parent adoption, inheritance rights, and end-of-life and medical decision-making rights. The bill did not allow for same-sex marriage, which Coloradans voted to constitutionally prohibit in 2006.

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