Dee Coram, gay son of rep who helped kill civil unions bill, on love and dad

dee coram.jpg
Dee Coram.
"This is certainly not the first issue we've ever disagreed on," says Montrose businessman Dee Coram about the stance staked out by his father, Representative Don Coram, in regard to the now-defeated civil unions bill. "But this is certainly the most public issue we've disagreed on." No kidding: Their disparate views landed them on page one of today's Denver Post and assorted TV stations -- because Coram mentioned Dee, who's gay, before casting a vote that helped kill the measure.

"I've always stayed out of the issues," Dee says. "But once it was brought up in the session by my father, he kind of thrust me into the limelight."

The first conversation Dee and Don had about the civil unions bill was "a week ago," Dee recalls. Back then, the legislation had been passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, but it needed to negotiate a number of committees in the Republican-dominated House in order to reach the chamber floor, where supporters felt confident it would pass.

don coram.jpg
Don Coram.
According to Dee, his father told him at the time, "'I think this does need to go to the House for a vote.' His reasoning was, 'The Democrats are really going to come after us this year and try to obtain some seats in the House.'"

The bill seemingly perished toward the end of the regular session, when House leadership's strategy effectively precluded a committee vote that would have brought it before the full membership. Shortly thereafter, Governor John Hickenlooper called for a special session so that legislators could take action on a slew of measures caught up in the maneuvering -- especially the civil unions bill. But rather than assigning the latter to the same committee that had heard it earlier, House Speaker Frank McNulty sent it to the State, Veteran's and Military Affairs Committee. Dubbed by civil unions supporters as the "kill" committee, the body featured more Republicans than Democrats, and all of the former, including Don Coram, were reliable votes against civil unions.

In casting his nay, Don said he needed to properly represent the views of his Western Colorado district -- yet he also spoke with pride about his gay son, Dee. That prompted reporters to follow up, and when they did, Dee shared his disappointment with his father's actions. In his words, "I think there's always a time to follow and there's a time to lead. And I believe he was given that time to lead, and I think he missed the mark."

Page down to continue reading our interview with Dee Coram.


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