After over four hours of heated debate, the Colorado House of Representatives has granted initial approval of the civil unions legislation with a resounding voice vote. Throughout the discussion, Republicans advanced several contentious amendments that would allow child placement services (like Catholic Charities), county clerks, and even average citizens (like bakers) to deny services to same-sex couples. All of those odious provisions failed to make it into the bill. The House is expected to grant final approval on Tuesday.
Last year, the then-Republican-controlled House killed civil unions using various techniques to prevent it coming to a full floor vote. What’s worse, the representative who cast the vote that doomed the bill has a gay son, who later accused his father of not taking a leadership role. As a result of these brash obstructionist tactics, Republicans lost their control of the House, and Democrats elected Rep. Mark Ferrandino, who is openly gay and an original sponsor of civil unions, to be Speaker. Ferrandino passionately defended the bill throughout the day, admitting he was getting “angrier and angrier” as Republicans repeatedly attempted to enshrine discrimination within its provisions.
Rep. Frank McNulty (R), who was Speaker last year and arranged for the bill to be killed, did not seem happy about today’s vote (HT: Out Front Colorado):