May 5, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
We have been reporting on the civil unions bill in Colorado, and yesterday the bill passed the House Judiciary and House Finance committees. The bill has to pass through three committees in Colorado’s state House before reaching the House floor, and both committee votes earned a Republican vote. Jacob reported yesterday:
There are still several hurdles for the civil unions bill on its way through the house before Wednesday. There was concern that House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Gardner would postpone signing the report that the bill had passed his committee, preventing the bill from moving forward. But Gardner signed the report today at noon.
Gardner’s move allows Speaker Frank McNulty to “read the bill across the desk,” which allows Finance Committee chairman Rep. Brian DelGrosso to schedule a hearing. DelGrosso had said he would hold a hearing if he received the bill. According to the Denver Post, the civil unions bill could be heard by the Finance Committee this afternoon. The bill must be heard on the House floor by Tuesday at the latest, so that a formal vote could occur on Wednesday, the final day of the legislative session.
The bill now appears to be on track for passage in the House Appropriations Committee, and with Republican support, it seems to be headed for passage if it can get taken up before time runs out next week:
An Evergreen Republican says she will vote for a civil unions bill next week when it gets to her committee, paving the way for it to be heard by the entire House.
Rep. Cheri Gerou said she committed at the start of the session to supporting Senate Bill 2, which allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.
Three Republicans have voted for it in their committees and only one of their votes is necessary for the bill to pass the House. With the measure gaining the necessary votes to reach the House floor, it’s up to House GOP leadership to decide when to take it up. There are only a couple more days left in the session, so there are not going to be many opportunities. If it’s going to pass this year the GOP leadership’s decision needs to be made as quickly as possible. Will they want to be seen as blocking civil rights advancements?
Governor John Hickenlooper is quoted as saying (in reference to past failed attempts to push this legislation through):
“If you step back and look at the history of this country, or the history of the world, many of the great civil rights successes that have come about are built on the foundation of many, many failures,” the governor said.
“At a certain point, you just feel that the time is right. There’s a level, a group, different people from different backgrounds from different parts of the state coming together and all moving towards an idea.”
We’ll see if the time is right now.