Colo. legisature back following Hickenlooper’s order to vote on civil union bill

by Matt Lacy —

 

Following Obama’s defiant stance on traditional marriage, Governor Hickenlooper decided he would not take “no” for an answer and ordered the Colorado state legislature back into session instructing them to vote on a civil union bill which would grant homosexuals the legal benefits of marriage after it failed to pass during the regular session.

During Colorado’s legislative session the Colorado Civil Union Act passed the Democrat-controlled Senate, and despite the Republicans controlling the house with a one seat advantage the bill was expected to pass as several Republicans had indicated their support for the bill. However, the day before the legislative session ended House Speaker Frank McNulty was able to prevent the bill from coming to a key vote on a procedural motion effectively killing the legislation.

The next day President Obama came out in support of homosexual marriage and following the president’s lead, Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order demanding the legislature come back into session on Monday to deal with the civil union bill. The special session is expected to cost taxpayers $23,500 a day. The legislature’s last special session was in 2006 and was called to address immigration legislation.

McNulty said he finds the timing of the session curious and suspects the issue is motivated by the president’s need to drum up re-election support in the state.

“I suspect it’s not a coincidence the governor had President Obama’s top Colorado political operatives shuttling in and out of his office,” McNulty said. “It could be more than coincidence that the president came out in favor of gay marriage and then only hours later Hickenlooper announced a special session.”

Hickenlooper denied that presidential politics had anything to do with his decision to call the special session.

Under the Colorado Constitution the governor is permitted to call for special sessions “on extraordinary occasions.” It is up to his discretion as to what constitutes an “extraordinary occasion” and during the session the legislature is only permitted to consider the items listed in the governor’s proclamation.

In the background section of the order detailing the “extraordinary circumstances” he felt required the special session Hickenlooper cited 29 other pieces of legislation that did not pass during this session,
however the civil unions bill was the only legislation mentioned by name.

When addressing the issue he said, “We believe that it is in the public interest of the State of Colorado to provide any two adult persons with the opportunity to enter into a civil union.”

However, when one reads the text of the bill supported by the governor it reveals his statement regarding “any two adult persons” is a total fabrication.

The Colorado Civil Union Act said its purpose was “to authorize any two unmarried adults, regardless of gender to enter into a civil union.”

The bill, which cites equality as one of its purposes then proceeds to discriminate against certain “loving” heterosexual couples. The bill prohibits individuals from entering into a civil union with an ancestor, descendant, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew whether the relationship is by half or whole blood.

It is unclear how supporters who say allowing same-sex unions or marriage is a “fairness” issue can subsequently deny the same rights they are seeking to others.

While the Governor may have ordered the legislature back into session, he has no authority to order them to approve the bill and despite his tactics pressuring them to pass it, Republicans are sending signals they may refuse to take up the issue.

While the bill was just two votes short of passage, when a special session is called the previous votes are meaningless and the entire procedure starts again from scratch.

State Sen. Scott Renfroe, an outspoken supporter of traditional marriage has said Senate Republicans are going to do their part to stop the bill, or failing that to attempt to guarantee religious protections to individuals who disagree with homosexuality.

 

While the bill specifies that clergy are not required to perform civil unions, there is no protection for business owners who may object to civil unions on religious or moral grounds. Republicans attempted to add an amendment to provide legal protections for business owners such as photographers and cake makers who object to civil unions from facing prosecution or fines for their beliefs, but it was defeated by Democrats.

Renfroe said that while the governor has the constitutional authority to call a special session, doing so for a civil union bill violates the spirit and intent behind the provision.

“We still have some major issues with job creation in the state, and what does the governor want us to do? He calls us back to deal with social issues.”

McNulty expressed similar sentiments saying despite the governor’s order, they may refuse to take up the issue at all, focusing instead on the other legislation addressed in the legislation.

“If the governor wants to make this special session about gay marriage, then that’s his prerogative,” McNulty said. “It’s clear that he cluttered his call for a special session with bills that could have passed yesterday with bipartisan support.  The governor has every right to call a special session, but let’s be clear—if the goal of this session is to pass bills that had broad, bipartisan support, we could have done that yesterday.”

Because marriage is defined in Colorado by a constitutional amendment, “gay” marriage cannot be legalized by state legislators, it must come before the people. Preventing a rogue judge or legislators from doing so was one of the primary reasons North Carolina passed a similar amendment this week. Currently 10 other states have similar amendments barring same-sex marriages.

In an attempt to do an end run around these amendments, homosexual activists often attempt to pass civil union bills which grant them all of the same benefits of marriage without having the name.

In an attempt to persuade the public, they state that this is a reasonable compromise because it still preserves the word marriage for traditional couples while allowing two loving couples to enter into what is basically a contractual arrangement with the same benefits of marriage.

However, the claim is a red herring because in states where civil unions are legal including Washington state where their bill grants all of the marriage rights except the name, activists are never satisfied, demanding access to the name even though the word itself may have no legal benefits attached to it.

In California, homosexual Judge Vaughn Walker stated that prohibiting homosexuals the right to the word marriage, even if they had the legal benefits of the institution was discriminatory. Walker wrote that domestic partnerships do not provide the same social meaning as marriage” and that “marriage is a culturally superior status compared to a domestic partnership.”

In Colorado supporters of the civil union bill have made no secret that they had no intention of stopping with civil unions but intend to use it as a stepping stone to ultimately repeal the state’s amendment affirming traditional marriage.

Earlier this year Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Mayor Dennis Coombs of Longmont signed a pledge calling for same-sex marriage recognition in all 50 states.

Following his signing of the pledge, Coombs told the Gazette that he would “accept civil unions as a positive step for equality in our current political environment” on the road to marriage equality.

Coomb’s statement issued a rare statement from the Longmont city council condemning him for his endorsement. The council submitted a statement to the Gazette saying, “Dennis Coombs aka the new mayor of Longmont did not get approval from his council to make this endorsement. So, his backing of this issue was done as a private citizen. Not on behalf of his city nor it’s [sic] blessing. The council of the city of Longmont does not usually take formal positions on these issues.”

What supporters of “gay” marriage failed to note is that it is currently allowed in all 50 states. If a minister is willing to marry a same-sex couple, there are no laws prohibiting it. The ceremony may not be recognized by some states, but the ceremony itself is not illegal.

Across the country, “gay” activists are charging ahead with an all-out assault on traditional marriage on multiple fronts.

In New York, Attorney General Eric Scheneiderman argued in a court brief advocating for repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, that states such as New York had the right to legalize same-sex marriage based on the 10th amendment. However, according to Scheneiderman states such as Colorado do not have a similar right to limit marriage to a man and a woman based on the 14th amendment.

 

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