State Rep. Mark Ferrandino, who is
openly gay, on Friday was elected minority leader of the Colorado
House, the Denver Post reported.
“I will be a vocal advocate for the
values and principles we care about as Coloradoans and as Democrats,”
the 34-year-old Ferrandino said.
“I know the importance of creating
strong bipartisan relationships, and I've always sought to do so in
my role in the JBC,” he added, referring to his membership in the
Joint Budget Committee.
Last year, Ferrandino, a Denver
Democrat, co-sponsored a bill that sought to recognize gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions. The measure died in a
Republican-controlled House committee after the Senate had approved
the bill. Ferrandino is widely expected to reintroduce the proposed
legislation next year. Colorado voters approved a constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage in 2006.
Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty
said he looked forward to working with Ferrandino.
“He is a good friend, and I look
forward to working with him. As the House Democrat member of the
Joint Budget Committee, Mark showed an interest in spending
restraint,” McNulty said in a statement.
Ferrandino's election means that should
Democrats regain control of the House, he could become house speaker.
Also gay are California Assembly
Speaker John Perez and Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox.