DENVER– At a state Senate committee hearing on a same-sex civil unions bill held here Wednesday, a series of witnesses battered Republican lawmakers opposed to the bill, suggesting they were confused in their ideology, nonstrategic in their thinking and enslaved to an outdated anti-gay “hateful bigoted mantra.” The harsh criticism came not from Democrats and their allies but from Republicans testifying in favor of the bill on the basis of conservative principles and out of partisan interest in the future success of the party.
Posts Tagged Pat Steadman
Denver Senator Pat Steadman’s re-introduced same-sex civil unions bill is being heard this afternoon in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although the bill will be passed easily by the committee’s Democratic majority, the hearing will be the staging ground for this year’s arguments for and against it, drawing the attention of political analysts, members of the public and lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature looking to gauge the direction and intensity of political winds in an especially charged election year.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday announced it was upholding an earlier court ruling that California’s Proposition 8 voter-passed ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The decision sets the stage for another appeal, likely to the U.S. Supreme Court, and drew applause from gay-rights advocates buoyed by another clear legal victory. Openly gay Colorado Congressman Jared Polis declared the ruling a victory for American notions of justice and equality.
Colorado House Democrats unanimously elected Denver Rep Mark Ferrandino minority leader today. In just over two terms as a lawmaker, Ferrandino has made a name for himself as an open and dynamic figure committed to the legislative process and talented at steering substantive bills through partisan minefields toward passage. He is the second out gay member of the Colorado legislature to head the Democrats in the chamber in the last decade.
DENVER– Veterans, state lawmakers and Democratic Party officials gathered on the capitol steps here Monday to celebrate the end of the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which for the last 18 years barred gay Americans from serving openly in the military. The Pentagon on Tuesday is offically lifting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell across all branches of the armed services in accordance with legislation passed last December. At a time when nearly any issue can generate incendiary political rhetoric and gridlock Congress, the end of the controversial military policy is being lauded as a rare bipartisan victory for equality and common sense and a sign of progress in service of the nation.
The grassroots political dream crashed, like so many others, on the shoals of big-bucks ballot-initiative finances. Mark Olmstead, a 19-year-old Colorado voter, was spurred earlier this year by high-profile gay rights advances and increasing popular support for gay rights to try to land an initiative on the ballot in Colorado that would repeal the state’s ban on gay marriage. Nic Garcia at Out Front Colorado reports today that Olmstead decided to withdrawal his initiative after failing to win backing for the business of gathering roughly 100,000 signatures by January.
In wake of wave-making New York marriage law, gay legal group takes aim at civil unions as inadequate
Lambda Legal, a New York-based organization committed to winning gay civil rights through the courts, announced in a press release Tuesday that it would challenge New Jersey’s 2006 same sex civil unions law for failing to bring full equality to gay residents of the state. Lambda, which is teaming with New Jersey LGBT group Garden State Equality, will refer to government studies and press investigations that document the way employers have failed to recognize couples entered into a civil union and how civil unions have been ignored or misunderstood by authorities, often in instances involving critical medical decisions.
Colorado hosted an intense proxy gay marriage debate around a same-sex civil unions bill during the state legislative session that ended two weeks ago. The bill was narrowly defeated pretty much along party lines. All Democrats voted for it, joined by a few Republicans. That’s roughly what happened in recent weeks in Minnesota, where lawmakers voted to include a referendum on voter ballots in the next election that would add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution. Much of the Minnesota clash has been captured on YouTube. It echoes the debate last month in Colorado and foreshadows the debate sure to rise again here next year, when sponsors of the civil unions bill have vowed to bring it back.
The three Republican women in the Colorado state Senate this year have voted as a bloc in support of at least two big family-protection bills that their male Republican colleagues have opposed. Weeks ago, Sens Ellen Roberts, Nancy Spence and Jean White argued passionately from the right in favor of same-sex civil unions as a way to bolster families headed by gay couples. The senators argued again passionately this week in favor of legislation that would combat school bullying, which can sink child confidence with tragic results and tear up families.
A bill to create health insurance exchanges in Colorado passed out of the Senate today, becoming one of the few bills to make it through the fires of Tea Party and other conservative groups this year. While Republicans largely voted against the bill, it passed with no discussion in the Democratically controlled Senate and is now on its way to the governor’s desk.