GOP leaders in the Colorado House of Representatives last night again blocked a floor vote on a civil unions bill, but next time could be different if the state’s numerous gay and lesbian legislative candidates have anything to say about it.
Four non-incumbents have been endorsed by the Victory Fund–three House candidates and one candidate for the Senate. If they win and join the four out legislators now serving, Colorado would have one of the largest LGBT legislative caucuses in the U.S., and their victories could ensure a floor vote on civil unions.
The out non-incumbent candidates endorsed by Victory are:
Jessie Ulibarri, Senate District 21 (pictured with his family)
Dominick Moreno, House District 32
Paul Rosenthal, House District 9
Joann Ginal, House District 52
This year’s civil unions legislation was sponsored by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the openly gay House Minority Leader. It won bipartisan support in committee votes throughout last week, but House Speaker Frank McNulty used procedural delays to prevent an up-or-down vote by the entire chamber, where it was expected to pass. McNulty was able to kill the measure again Monday night during a special session called this week by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a strong supporter of the civil unions bill.
One Colorado, the statewide LGBT group, said it would now turn its focus to ousting McNulty. ”We must fight back. They must be held accountable,” said Brad Clark, the group’s executive director.
Ferrandino and his House colleague, Rep. Sue Schafer, joined their out counterparts in the Senate–Sens. Pat Steadman and Lucia Guzman–in urging their colleagues to give same-sex couples many of the legal rights, benefits and responsibilities afforded to married couples, and they vowed to keep fighting.
“(W)e’re going to work hard to make sure the public understands what happened, the games that were played, and next we’re going to push it again. And as I’ve said a number of times, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when.’ And the ‘when’ keeps getting sooner and sooner. This will happen,” said Ferrandino.