approval by the Colorado Senate, a civil unions bill that would
give gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits of marriage has
been assigned to an hostile committee in the House.
The bill was assigned to the Judiciary
Committee by House Speaker Frank McNulty on Friday.
“It's probably one of the most
difficult committees to get it out of, and I think the speaker knows
that,” said Representative Mark Ferrandino, the bill's sponsor in
the House. “I'm not surprised. It went to judiciary in the
Senate, so it's hard to call it a committee that doesn't have
jurisdiction over it, but I think [McNulty] knows it's the most
likely committee he could send it to and kill it.”
McNulty said the committee assignment
was the most appropriate and promised a fair hearing.
The Republican-controlled committee's
leadership is opposed to the proposed measure.
Chairman Bob Gardner is on record as
opposing civil unions, while Vice Chairman Mark Barker told the
Denver Post that he's a Southern Baptist when asked if he
supports the bill.
The measure needs the support of at
least one Republican to reach the House floor – if the committee's
Democrats unite in favor of the bill.
“I'm not fatalistic,” Ferrandino
told The Pueblo Chieftain. “I'm still holding out hope and
will continue to work to try to get it done.”
The bill won passage in the Senate on
Thursday with the help of three Republicans.
Three states – Illinois, Hawaii and
New Jersey – currently offer civil unions. A
similar bill was introduced in Delaware on Tuesday.