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Civil Unions Fight Over, Tensions Remain

KUNC File Photo

At the state capitol, tensions between Democrats and Republicans meeting for a special session remains high following the defeat of a civil unions bill and a measure that would have asked voters to officially remove an anti-gay discrimination clause in the state constitution.

Both were sent to a "kill committee" by Republican leaders prompting Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver) to tweet that he thought this was the most anti-gay session since the days of former Fourth District Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave.

The second, procedural bill that Democrats were smarting over would have asked voters to strip a series of provisions from the constitution that courts have been deemed unconstitutional – including 1992’s Amendment 2 – a voter-approved measure that overturned anti-gay discrimination codes in Denver, Boulder and Aspen.

Then there was this exchange Tuesday on the House Floor between Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) and Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) over an unemployment insurance bill.

(Ferrandino) It’s a good bi-partisan bill. I’m glad we’re able to come together and be able to do this, unfortunately we weren’t able to do this during the regular session (boos in chamber). (McNulty) Mr. Minority leader, stick to the bill.

McNulty and Ferrandino sparred repeatedly this week as the civil unions bill seemed destined for defeat.

For his part, McNulty spoke at a rally in support of traditional marriage Wednesday outside the capitol where he reportedly urged the crowd to carry their message across Colorado. The Associated Press reported a man with a bullhorn tried to drown the House Speaker's words out.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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