DENVER — Opponents of same-sex unions rallied at the Colorado Capitol on Tuesday as tensions remained high one day after state House Republicans rejected a proposal to provide gay couples rights similar to marriage.
Dozens of people saying they support traditional marriage cheered GOP lawmakers and thanked state House Speaker Frank McNulty, crediting him for the defeat of the heavily debated civil union legislation.
Gay rights advocates also maintained a presence, as a man with a horn loudly heckled McNulty. McNulty spoke through the noise, urging Republicans to spread the message that his party will protect traditional marriage.
Both parties plan to campaign on the issue of civil unions versus traditional marriage in November. Fundraising emails have gone out with each party seeking support based on its stance regarding the failed civil union bill.
Democrats, meanwhile, blasted McNulty for the demise of the civil union proposal. It failed on a 5-4 party line vote in a Republican House committee on the first day of a special session Gov. John Hickenlooper called to try to save the legislation. The Democratic governor has said keeping lawmakers at the Capitol was necessary to address a "fundamental question of fairness and civil rights".
A civil union bill introduced during the regular session passed the Democratic-led Senate before clearing three GOP-controlled committees in the House. There was enough support to get the bill to the governor's desk, but Republicans filibustered to prevent it from coming to a vote.
Judgeship denied: Tracy Thorne-Begland, a Richmond, Va., prosecutor who challenged the military's now-defunct "don't ask, don't tell" policy, has advocated for gay marriage and is raising twins with his partner, was rejected for a judgeship by the state's General Assembly on Tuesday.