Civil Unions Assigned To “Kill Committee”

UPDATE 8:10PM:The special session civil unions legislation, HB12S-1006, dies in the House State Affairs Committee on a party-line 5-4 vote.


UPDATE #5: LGBT philanthropist and major Democratic funder Tim Gill is personally attending today’s hearing on civil unions legislation, reports Nic Garcia of Out Front Colorado.


UPDATE #4: With all eyes fixed on the Colorado House today, the Los Angeles Times reports:

Colorado legislation permitting civil unions for same-sex couples was assigned Monday to a conservative “kill” committee, supporters of the measure said, virtually ensuring that the bill will never reach the House floor for a vote.

The action by Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty occurred on the first day of a special legislative session called by Colorado’s governor to address the bill.

“The Republicans chose to send it to a committee where it won’t get a fair hearing and will likely be killed,” Brad Clark, executive director of Denver-based One Colorado, a statewide gay and lesbian advocacy group, told The Times…

“Why does it go to one committee one week and another the next?”  Clark asked Monday. “If the bill does fail, all of our focus will be on November and holding the House leadership responsible. These kinds of political shenanigans have consequences.”


UPDATE #3: From GOP Speaker Frank McNulty’s latest statement:

While Republicans focused our efforts on putting Coloradans back to work, Gov. Hickenlooper and his Democratic allies in the legislature brought these efforts to a grinding halt by pushing a last-minute, divisive attack on our traditional views on marriage for short term political gain.

Make no mistake about it. Gov. Hickenlooper has called this Legislature into an expensive special session for the sole purpose of dividing Coloradans.  Instead of using his authority and his bully pulpit to unify Coloradans behind a pro-growth agenda of economic recovery and job creation, he is using his authority to tear Colorado apart. Again. That’s where his priority is…

They can’t defend their record of failed policies, so they have chosen instead to push and promote same sex marriage. And that’s unfortunate.  Because the hardworking families of this state don’t have the time, the inclination or the patience to pay for these election year political stunts.


UPDATE #2: Republican Rep. Dave Balmer, while reiterating that he would be a “no” vote on civil unions, nevertheless condemns Speaker Frank McNulty’s actions to kill civil unions legislation in the House in an email to supporters today:

I do not support abrogating the House Rules to pass or defeat any bill. The House Rules have their underpinnings in our State Constitution. I have served under three Speakers, and I’ve never seen the rules changed to advantage or disadvantage any specific bill. I never saw Speaker Romanoff bend the rules, so we must follow the Rules now. Bills should proceed to their normal committees of reference.

The House Rules don’t just belong to us (the 65 current Representatives). They belong to all Representatives who served before us and all those who will serve after us. More importantly, the House Rules belong to the People of Colorado.


UPDATE: The Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic:

Swamped by reporters after making the assignment, McNulty said that Gov. John Hickenlooper called the special session to advance “gay marriage” in Colorado but that Republicans were focused on job creation. He said Hickenlooper was spending tax money to run the special session on an election-year campaign issue meant to trip up Republican candidacies…

Talking to reporters after McNulty finished, [Minority Leader Mark] Ferrandino lamented the action taken by the Speaker.

“The majority, including 46 percent of Republican delegates to the party convention this year have supported this bill. This is not a controversial issue here. He sent it to the kill committee. It should have followed the same process as it followed during the regular session.”



It was announced moments ago that GOP Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty has assigned the legislation to authorize civil unions in Colorado, now numbered as House Bill 12S-1006–a principal focus of the special session of the Colorado General Assembly getting underway this morning–to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

For those of you who don’t know, the State Affairs Committee is the traditional “kill committee” in both chambers of the Assembly, composed of the most loyal representatives to the Speaker or Senate President–meaning it’s where a bill is sent when leadership wants to ensure it is killed.

That is now the fully expected fate of the civil unions bill at 3:30 this afternoon.

60 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Half Glass Full says:

    What idiocy. The Republican leadership – not all Republicans, since many were courageously prepared to vote the right way if simply given the chance – is definitely on the wrong side of history with this one.

  2. mtboneiii says:

    It’s not SB2 anymore, since the special session stsrts from scratch.  I think it’s HB 1007 or something like that.

  3. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Yeah, we can pretty much see how this is going to go.

    But this bill has racked up four miracles already — three R committee votes and a special session.

    No reason not to make it five.

    Jim Kerr

    Don Coram

    Randy Baumgardner

    Janak Joshi

    Larry Liston

  4. Voyageur says:

    Larry Liston stated he was personally opposed to the bill but believed it was important enough to the state to deserve consideration by the whole house and voted to move it out.

      In other news, water began running uphill.  

    • Dan Willis says:

      Must have been McNulty jumping up and down!

      • Voyageur says:

        Too bad.  I doubt that he really would have done the right thing on Earth, as opposed to Rightious, but he is sometimes a maverick.    

        • Dan Willis says:

          My understanding is that a call for a new Speaker to be elected is always in order, so this may be a good time to do that.

          Given that McNulty will go to any lengths to kill a bill, despite it being supported by a majority of the House, even to replace a committee member simple becuase he dared to say the bill derserved a full floor debate.

          I say elect a new Speaker, reintorduce the bill, send to Judiciary and then everyone can get with the business of governing and stop singing this ridculous opera.

          • cunninjo says:

            From Eli Stokols, “Asked why not topple McNulty, Ferrandino says ‘this institution is bigger than any one bill.'”

            • Voyageur says:

              is how could you get at least one Republican to go along?  Assuming all the Dems voted for one Republican who agreed to move the bill out, that Republican has signed his death warrant with the party.   Voting for a bill against the speaker’s wishes is one thing.  Ousting the speaker is quite another.  And since the general election is upon us, the new guy/gal would be speaker for one day only.

              • Dan Willis says:

                Besides, there are several people out today. Dems have the majority at the moment.

                Mark is right. The institution is bigger than one bill. But it is the damage that McNulty is doing to the institution that needs to be redressed.

    • gertie97 says:

      and it has since the first transmountain diversion.

      Water flows uphill toward money. Ask anybody on the Western Slope.

  5. cdsmith says:

    I take it that even if there’s a miracle and Republicans keep control, there’s about zero chance for McNulty as next year’s speaker?

  6. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I always kinda thought he had a little more spine than most of the rest of ’em.

    Statement sounds like an old-school Colorado Republican: Independent with statesmanship over partisanship. I’d like to see more of that and less McNulty Tea Partisan BS.

  7. ArapaGOP says:


    For years, Colorado Democrats successfully blistered Colorado Republicans for focusing too heavily on divisive social issues in the Legislature. With Governor Hickenlooper calling for a special session on one of those social issues, at the cost of $23,500 per day, the shoe is now firmly on the other foot.

    While many political observers have said there is no risk to Hickenlooper in calling a special session, we’re not so sure. There is no emergency when it comes to civil unions, nor most importantly, will any jobs be created from passing it. Coloradans, no matter where they stand on civil unions, are unlikely to appreciate their government using limited tax revenue to argue for a few more days over a bill that most think has no chance of passing.

    Colorado Pols has said for years that Democrat strength in this state flowed from Democrats staying focused on real issues like jobs and education while Republicans frittered away on social issues.

    Now Democrats are the ones frittering away over social issues.

    Why does this principle not work in reverse? Why won’t the people punish Democrats for veering from the issues that matter like you claim happened to Republicans?

    It’s. A. Double. Standard. That’s why.

    • Republicans will end the special session without considering the job-creating water projects bill, since the session was called “on one of those social issues”.

      Beyond that, though, I disagree with Speaker McNulty; the longer someone’s rights are denied, the more damage is done.  And yes, jobs will be created by the passing of the civil unions bill – Colorado will now have an official mechanism by which to recognize gay unions, which will create (for lack of a better term) civil union ceremonies and celebrations.

    • Ralphie says:

      is only a “Social Issue” to Republicans.

      To the rest of us, equal protection is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      homework before you spew your CPP bullshit. This isn’t just about social issues, you blithering idiot.

      First, it isn’t costing taxpayers a dime–the money for the special session is coming out of escrow.

      Second, the civil unions bill isn’t the only one being brought back. There are six other bills that are being brought redressed because the Republicans played games at the expense of Colorado voters.

      • Funding $55 million in water projects.

      • Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

      • Stabilizing unemployment-insurance rates.

      • Creating “benefit corporations” in Colorado.

      • Registering “special mobile machinery fleets.”

      • Asking voters to amend the state constitution by repealing provisions deemed obsolete, including a measure that barred local governments from prohibiting discrimination against gays.

      Now I’ll admit I’m not exactly riveted to the outcome of the mobile machinery fleets registration but I guarantee you that $55 million in water projects, in a state that lives and dies by its water needs, matters to a whole bunch of folks. A whole bunch of folks that your dumbass party played political Charlie Brown football with.

      Your party is an embarrassment to democracy. Why oh why does democracy scare you folks so damn much that you pull every stunt in the book to stymy it?



      • Canines says:

        Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

        There is only a marijuana DUID bill before the legislature. Apparently, the Governor thought he could sell the special session better, though, if the issue was reframed using the language that you’ve uncritically reprinted.

        Which leads me to wonder: Why didn’t he say exactly what it is? Why dissemble? Is the issue less appealing as just a marijuana bill?

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      Kind of like Pols, it’s on the Internet. So just FYI, people who want to read that blog probably… y’know…. READ THAT BLOG. Instead of or in addition to this one.

      Does your public service agenda include posting COPols analyses to CPP, too, or do they only pay you to provide the valuable service in one direction?

    • Wong21fr says:

      … that narrative might work, if civil unions was the only issue in the special session.  But, that the House GOP killed 28 other bills, a number of them related to “real issues” in order to keep one social issue from getting an actual vote destroys the line or persuasion that the GOP is focused on “real issues”.  Instead, the direct message is that the GOP values social issues 28 times more than “real issues” The indirect message is that the GOP will go to extraordinary lengths to keep a few special interests happy to the detriment of the majority.

      With the special session having one social issue bill and five “real issues” bills a narrative is established that the Governor, and Democrats by association, are the rational actors in the political realm who want to see the CO House act in a responsible manner in carrying out their duties.

      Wherever they sent you to teach branding and messaging techniques must have been a pretty piss-pour course.  Of course, political messaging is the realm of those who majored in communications and who kissed enough ass, both literally and figuratively, to avoid being a Starbucks barista upon graduation.

    • ajb says:

      There is no emergency when it comes to civil unions, nor most importantly, will any jobs be created from passing it.

      I can think of several emergencies that could occur without civil unions. Such as, partners being allowed to the bedside of a dying partner, or survivor benefits when one partner dies. All those things in the law that are special to married couple do not apply to same sex couples.

      And no jobs? Really? Do you really have no idea how big the wedding industry is? How many caterers, florists, and other service providers it employs?  

      • BlueCat says:

        and now will go somewhere else? How this will figure into decisions by the film making industry? How it will affect choices for major conventions in all kinds of gay friendly and gay dominated fields?

        McNulty has chosen to join the ranks of those known for making last stands against what should be guaranteed civil rights,just like George Wallis.  He is a pathetic little weasel and the wing of the GOP that ArapG and he represent is in its death throws.

        Colorado has been a harbinger of where things are going in the 21st century and the Republicans who passed civil unions through three committees and those who were ready to vote yes in the full house is the kind who will either save the GOP in the not very distant future or give it up in disgust as it doubles down on anachronistic stands.

        No matter what ArapG says about the state anti-marriage amendments that have passed, let’s remember that it was only about 15 minutes ago that the majority opposed civil unions and equal marriage rights, now those are minority positions, especially among those who will still be voting in future, so consider those amendments examples of the extreme right’s last hurrah. Unless they can manage to elect Mittens and extend their rule through the Supremes.  

        Remember the blink or two it took between Rove’s permanent conservative majority and the election of Obama?  Then came the now fast fading TPers 2010 triumphs (not so much here in Colorado)?  Another couple of blinks and this national nightmare of rightie extremism  can be over for a long, long time, washed away by a majority composed of the young, women and minorities.

        All we have to do is keep them out of the White House in 2012 to keep the Supreme Court in a Dem President’s hands and we’re pretty much home free. They won’t have another crack at a rightie mouthpiece court for decades.

    • sxp151 says:

      the last thing the villain says before the good guys defeat him and blow up his lair? Sounds like even you’re getting ready to give up on the homophobia.

    • MADCO says:

      We’re just brain dead liberals.

      Everyone expects D’s to get all excited about everything – civil rights included.

  8. allyncooper says:

    That was the mantra chanted by the likes of George Wallace, “Bull” Conner, and Lester Maddox.

    It seems the Colorado Republican House leadership has taken a page from their playbook.

    Whether it’s standing in the doorway, turning on the firehose, wielding a pick ax handle, or assigning a bill to a kill committee, the objective is the same – to deny a certain class of citizens their civil rights and due process under the law  because they’re “different”.  

  9. Politico1 says:

    Tim Gill’s in the house…and is that Trimpa next to him?

    Bulletin to Republicans…Angry rich guy < civil unions.

  10. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    They’re off to the races…

    Listen now — only works in IE.

  11. Politico1 says:

    I’m angry and motivated. The R’s have made a lot of people very angry tonight. They’ll pay for this in November.

  12. RadioFreeDenver says:

    Send some money to Gary Semro, who is running against him in HD 43. Colorado Democrats have ignored this district forever. It’s time to stand up and put your money where your mouths are.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      You take back the house by putting money into the closest races, not into the ones where your emotion is driving you.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        And I agree with it and you 100%. 🙂

      • RadioFreeDenver says:

        when I ran in HD43 against Ted Harvey.

        I can still hear Andrew Romanoff saying to me, “You’re going to lose anyway, but thanks for fighting the good fight.” I raised all of $3,000 and managed 37% against Teddy with Dem registration in HD43 at 19%. If I had run again in 2006 against McNulty and gotten the same number of votes as I did in 2004, I would have won the election.

        It’s easy to hang out here on Pols and impress everyone with your witty comments, but as the saying goes, “Money talks and bullshit walks.”

        Howard Dean was right on target when he urged Dems to contest every race. Remember 2006 when the Dems unexpectedly reclaimed the US House? I didn’t think so.

        As for my emotion driving me, here’s some emotion. Up yours. Respectfully.

    • cdsmith says:

      went 67/32 for McNulty in 2010.  Has there been a huge change to the demographics there in redistricting?  If not, then sorry, but there just aren’t enough swing voters to overcome a margin like that.

      The way to get McNulty out of the speaker position is to not re-elect the vulnerable Republicans whose majority put him there.  There were multiple races in 2010 decided by literally hundreds of votes.  Any one of those can flip, and McNulty will no longer be speaker.  Let him stick around as a washed up minority house member, if it means a solid Dem majority in the house because that money went to smart races.

  13. Craig says:

    I love to tell you that I told you so.  But I did.  I told you that this special session was stupid and exactly what the Reps would do in response.  So as usual the Democrats have taken a winning issue and turned it into a negative.  This is why I am not a Democrat.  Democrats just don’t get the political system and how things are going to work out.  Democrats are just too stupid to be the dominant party in this country any more.

    • Politico1 says:

      The R’s are clearly the big losers here. They come off looking like bigots, at worst, and obstructionists, at best. In addition, the R’s have ignited the Dem base to work even harder to destroy them in November. Very little downside for the Dems here.

      • Republicans will be spending a lot of money promoting their version of special session opinion between now and November.

        Democrats will need to focus on the parts of the special session that will add jobs, and be “tactfully aggressive” when talking about the civil unions bill.

        I don’t take it as a given that this will be a net positive for Dems for the election.

        • brio says:

          At the end of the regular session the narrative was that Rs hate gays so much they tanked 30 bills, including some of their own, to stop civil unions.  Now there’s a special session to get the “important” of the tanked bills through, and it just becomes about the Rs defeating civil unions.  Everyone knows the R party is against civil unions, so how does that move the needle?  I do think this can be changed with effective messaging, but it’s no longer low-hanging fruit.

          And to P1s point, the energizing of the D base was accomplished by the end of the regular session.  How did the special session add to the energy?

          • sxp151 says:

            that the Dems did everything they could to make it happen. If Hickenlooper had taken his usual “Republicans might not like it, so I won’t do it” approach to the special session, it would have been pretty demotivational. Civil unions died, and Democrats didn’t to anything to prevent it. Plus Republicans still had the cover story that there simply wasn’t enough time to pass the bill.

            The special session makes the difference between the parties much clearer, and will probably motivate people who are very supportive of gay rights to help Democrats win elections.

            I haven’t donated to the Colorado Democratic Party in four years, because few of our local elected officials ever seemed to fight for my side in political debates. I don’t know if this is quite enough to change my mind, but at least I’ll stop slamming down the phone when they call me.

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