In a riotous scene, late last night Colorado’s GOP filibustered in order to prevent the civil unions bill from coming to a vote on the House floor. The legislative session ended for the year without the bill being heard.
A bill to allow same-sex couples to form civil unions died on the calendar late Tuesday, taking down more than 30 other measures with it in a dramatic game of political chicken in which no one would blink. 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!” GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee for the second year in a row were enraged and lobbied McNulty and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens to use every procedure to kill Senate Bill 2.
That’s exactly what happened, but in the process of making sure civil unions died on the calendar, a slew of other bills became casualties too. Among the bills ensnared in the tug-of-war in the House: $20 million worth of water projects statewide and a bill that sets a standard for driving while stoned. Throughout the evening, Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and a supporter of gay rights, worked with legislative leaders to try to break the impasse, briefly meeting with McNulty outside the speaker’s office. At another point, Republican Mark Waller of Colorado Springs and Democrat Mark Ferrandino held dueling news conferences on the House floor.