Nov 15, 2012 8:40 PM by Andy Koen

Power shift at state capitol favors civil unions

Civil unions may not have been on the ballot directly last week, but the results of the election have left little doubt that Colorado lawmakers will address the issue once the new session begins in January.

Democrats will hold control of both houses of the legislature as well as the governors office. Governor John Hickenlooper also called for a special session back in May specifically to give the civil unions bill another chance at passing after it was blocked in committee in the house at the close of the 2012 session.

Another indications that the party sees the issue as unfinished business is the selection of openly gay representative Mark Ferrandino as Speaker of the House.

"This election was huge on so many levels," said Daneya Esgar, vice president of the Southern Colorado Equality Alliance.

Her group that successfully lobbied the Pueblo City Council for benefits for same sex partners last month. She says our state has had a cultural shift since the days of Amendment 2 which passed 20 years ago.

"Times are changing, people minds and hearts are shifting and acceptance of equality and love are becoming more and more promising."

But not everyone believes the democrats have a clear mandate on this issue.

"We think that by and large the country has already concluded by a huge majority that marriage is between a man and a woman," said Tom Minnery, the Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy for Focus on the Family.

He thinks lawmakers will be governing against the will of the people on this issue.

"As recently as 2006 the people of Colorado voted overwhelmingly again on the definition of marriage and that same year they defeated Referendum I, so the people in Colorado have been consistent on this issue."

The 2013 Colorado General Assembly begins on January 9.


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