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Civil Union Act should pass in CO House if not blocked by extremists, says Sen. Pat Steadman

Thumbnail image for senator pat steadman.jpg
Pat Steadman.
Update below: Today, in all likelihood, SB 172, intended to legalize civil unions in Colorado, will be okayed by the state senate, following debate yesterday that warmed the heart of its sponsor, Senator Pat Steadman. Next, however, the bill must be approved by the Republican-controlled House, where he thinks it will pass, too -- but only if legislators who know it's the correct thing to do are brave enough to stand up for their convictions, he maintains.

"It was very gratifying yesterday to deliver such a compelling, persuasive and often emotional argument for something that's really a matter of basic civil rights and fairness," Steadman says. "And the fact that the opponents just got up there and whined about marriage and the family and some hypothetical threat to family values in the future I think really showed who has right on their side."

Among those critics was Senator Kevin Lundberg, who noted that in 2006, Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman and rejected a domestic partnerships measure. The implication? By approving the Civil Union Act, legislators would be defying the views of most Coloradans.

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A photo from One Colorado, which supports civil unions.
To that, Steadman responds, "They say you never step in the same river twice -- and I don't think you ever put a question before the same electorate twice. Colorado isn't the same as it was in November 2006. People have grown, people have learned. We've all had experiences with individuals in our own lives or seen the progress of this issue in other states across the country. Public opinion has rapidly evolved."

Given the tenor of the debate yesterday, will some House Republicans be afraid of coming across as biased if they oppose the bill? "If that's what they were worried about, they should be ashamed about what happened in the Senate Judiciary Committee a few weeks ago," Steadman replies, referencing a hearing that featured a woman who went on at length about how nature put a tight sphincter on the anus as a message to keep out.

"I don't think that bothers them," Steadman continues, pointing out that "I'm speaking to opponents generally. But political leaders of the House are, I think, very bothered by this. They're struggling between extremes in their party."

Indeed, he says, "I think you would be surprised at how many votes we would get if this came to the floor of the House. But I also think some people who might actually be in favor of this personally think politically it's too risky for them."

In his mind, then, the bill's biggest challenge may be simply getting it out of committee -- the stage prior to reaching the full Senate. Regarding this step, Steadman calls himself "cautiously optimistic... because I think courage is winning out."

Update, 12:45 p.m. March 24: As expected, the Civil Union Act passed the Colorado Senate today. Here's a release from the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign commending the legislature for its actions. Immediately thereafter, page down to read SB 172 in its entirety, as well as to see a video and news release dating back to the bill's introduction from One Colorado, a civil-unions backer.

Human Rights Campaign release:

Colorado Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill

The bill will next be considered by the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON --Today, The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, commends the Colorado Senate for passing a comprehensive civil unions bill. The legislation passed by a 23 to 12 vote, and now moves to the House of Representatives.

"Legislators in Colorado have taken an important action to advance equality for all Coloradans," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We call on the Colorado House to swiftly follow the Senate's lead on this crucial legislation."

SB 127, introduced by Senator Pat Steadman, would allow both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions giving couples all of the rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage under state law, but would not allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

Currently, five states have laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for same-sex couples, without offering marriage. California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington provide same-sex couples with access to almost of all the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Earlier this year, the governors of Hawaii and Illinois signed into law civil unions bills. Couples in Illinois can begin applying for civil union licenses on June 1, 2011 and in Hawaii couples can begin applying on Jan. 1, 2012.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing relationship recognition in the states, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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9 comments
35-year Colorado Native
35-year Colorado Native

@Eric,

I agree 100% that times change, could that be why "Despite efforts to stem the tide of family flight, the population of children in San Francisco continues to ebb." The link to the article follows:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/loca...

At least your smart enough not to argue that homosexuals reproduce. I suggest that you move to San Francisco with your very understanding wife as I understand they are looking for families tolerate of a low moral standard.

The following is the 2nd comment with over 555 supporters:

"Let's see...here's a city that is one of the world's largest promoter of lifestyles essentially tied to infertility, and they're mystified that there's a continual decline in fertility? They're somehow magically surprised that a city with no desire to promote a moral standard is experiencing an exodus of families, when families are the institution most essentially tied to developing a moral compass of the future members of society? Duh..."

As you take the liberty to say things I never said, sounds like you are stereotyping "thegays" & the bars they frequent. On the other hand, because you are of such a strong moral fortitude I seriously doubt you would ever stereotype anyone and must speak from 1st hand experience.

Therefore, PLEASE use protection while frequenting your favorite gay bars to protect your very understanding wife.

Be happy, not gay.

Andrew
Andrew

Michael,

Sorry, going off topic here...

Is there a way to subscribe via RSS to The Latest Word? I see that it's possible to subscribe to the comment thread of a specific article, but I'm just not seeing the link to subscribe to the whole blog.

thanks

35-year Colorado Native
35-year Colorado Native

It seems to me that Steadman is the extremist as, "that in 2006, Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman and rejected a domestic partnerships measure."

Once again these clowns are trying to find ways to justify their pay check by stomping on the will of the majority of Coloradoans.

Just remember one thing, homosexuals recruit - not reproduce.

As a straight male that's been hit-on numerous times by the gays, I can personally attest to the above statement and can refute the popular lie that "they" don't hit on you if your straight.

Eric
Eric

So, the best you can do is the old "I know you are, but what am I?"?

What are you, 9?

Focus, act like an adult.

I was merely pointing out that your behavior and habits are what's causing you your self made problems. You've been "hit on" 3 times by gay people? As I said, you're obviously putting yourself in a position you say you don't like.....again and again.........and it sounds like............again!

Ever heard of the old saying "insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result."? Only you know if it's insanity or something else, ala larry craig, ted haggard, george rekers, richard curtis, roy ashburn, david drexler, and mark foley, to name a few.

Ok, enough about your projecting.

Twice you've bought up this bullshit having to do with worrying about other people reproducing .

So now you're the genesis 9:7 police? Obsessed with the Census? (That's a polite way of saying mind your own business).

Yes, there are extreme religious cults that promote mindless, animal and shark like reproduction behaviors. Mormon fundamentalism, Fred Phelps' bunch, several christian fundamentalist strains, etcetera. But, hate to be the one to break it to you, they ain't the norm.

Maybe that's your deal, just repopulating. OK then.

Go forth and populate all ya want. but other peoples' business isn't yours'.

Again, you run your show, don't worry about other people's show.

That was the point of the Westword piece about Civil Unions.

As well as the legislation.

For years, decades, indeed since the Civil War, half the country, the educated, critical thinking half, has dragged the hillbilly half toward progress.

For as long as I can remember, there's been the goober element. Backward, intolerant, comfortable in their lack of intellectual curiosity, positive that their beliefs are "better" than others', unwilling to process other peoples' ideas because it might require paying attention.

Education, ability to exchange information and ideas used to trump gooberism, and it made us the most powerfull nation in the world.

In spite of the hillbilly half. .But this is new. This arrogant Lundberg and Brophy like "Stupid's the new cool" phenomenon is concerning in that it is so unapolagetic and immovable. And reasonable discourse simply can't get through that bubble.

It's manifested itself in many arenas, with the resistance to Civil Unions being just one example.

.

Eric
Eric

35 year Colorado native,

When LBJ got the Civil Rights Amendment through in 1964, it was disapproved of by more than 50%.

White America was forced by law to come to grips with its' own narrow minded prejudices.

It cost the Democratic Party the entire South, as the "dixiecrats" in th U.S. Senate and House defected to the republicans. The South remains both red and racist, intolerant and ideology driven to this day. Good riddance to a slimy part of the Democratic Party that never represented it or its' ideals. The republican party is a willing and deserving host to this cancer.

However, as time went on, the vast majority of the American People accepted the truth that all men and women are created equal. Sure, there are conservative goober pockets in every town, district, county and neighborhood, but most Americans do by and large accept "other people" as their equal.

The Constitutional Amendment you refer to was passed in '06, to be sure. The campaign to get it through was financed by several well heeled conservative PAC's, FOF and the Mormon Church to name 2, backed by a virulent and vitriolic conservative Colorado House and Senate, and was voted in mainly because of the money spent by these charlatans put misleading and outright untruthfull campaign adds on the air.

Unfortunately, enough people bought the "end of days" bullshit from these creeps to get the measure through. And shame on those of us who fell for that drivel.

Times change, now every poll, even deliberately misleading polls by conservative groups show that a strong majority of Coloradans back Civil Unions.

I'm a straight white male, happily married for 25 years to the woman who's the love of my life, and I do not feel as though my marraige or my happiness is in any way affected by this. I'm in the majority here.

You're not.

As for your unfortunate experiences "being hit on" by "the gays", I suggest you stop frequenting "gay bars", or, as in your words, "bars where "the gays" are". You know, common sense and all that.

Just sayin'...............................

35-year Colorado Native
35-year Colorado Native

@Eric,

A rather long response for a "I know you are, but what am I?"

I believe that you need to focus as you failed to answer how "family flight" is good for Denver & the people of Colorado. Oh wait, you did, "you run your show, don't worry about other people's show".

Since your stance sounds a lot like the military's stance on homosexuality (Don't Ask, Don't tell), is it safe to assume that you are a supporter of Don't ask, Don't tell???

If so, then we have found common ground to which to agree upon. If not, your typical of the miraculous slim that slides uphill to Colorado from the various progressive states like California.

Before I waste any more time on you & a topic that voters already handled, please address the "family flight" issue in San Francisco and what state you are originally from?

While you ramble on about intelligence and your hillbilly-half, please remember that this discourse is here for the world to see and YOU are on the wrong side of god, history, and the will of Colorado voters.

Andrew
Andrew

"conservative goober pockets" -- I'm adding this gem to my lexicon immediately.

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