Colorado civil unions bill fails in the House because of legislative inaction

Late last night, a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to form civil unions failed in the Colorado House before it was able to be put to a vote. Republican leadership in the House essentially filibustered the Colorado Civil Union Act, running out the clock so that there wasn't enough time to take a final vote on the legislation. Since the Legislature in Colorado adjourns on Wednesday, the full House needed to take an initial vote on the civil unions bill before midnight on Tuesday.

If it had been taken to a vote, the bill very likely would have passed, as it had support from several Republicans in the House, which the Republicans control by a 33-32 margin. Now, the bill has failed along with 30 other bills, including legislation concerning school discipline policies and water projects.   

One Colorado, the state's LGBT advocacy organization, released a statement last night: 

House leadership decided today that it was more important to play politics than do the people’s business. Although a clear majority of Colorado voters support civil unions—and a clear majority of our Representatives agree with them—House leadership killed the bill, proving just how out-of-touch they are with everyday Coloradans. 

In November, Colorado voters will not forget that House leadership obstructed the legislative process by killing a bill that was assured passage on the House floor. Because of their decision, Colorado families will be hurt.

Instead of protecting all Colorado families, House leadership pandered to the far-right fringe of their party. We will now take our fight to the election, and come November, we will win a pro-equality majority that will vote to protect all loving couples.

Earlier this month, the Colorado House Judiciary Committee advanced the civil union bill after the bill's supporters, including Freedom to Marry members in the state, sent thousands of messages to members of the committee urging them to advance the bill. 

During the day on Tuesday, activists and supporters of the Colorado Civil Union Act rallied outside of the Colorado State Capitol. The demonstrators shouted, "Let them vote!" and made the case that the House leadership should let the civil union bill face a vote on the floor.

After the House shut down, One Colorado's Deputy Director, Jace Woodrum, spoke to supporters of the bill. Woodrum spoke about what needs to happen after the disappointing display of party politics. A full video of the speech is below, courtesy of Daniel Gonzales.

We have to let people know what happened - we have to make sure what happened tonight is understood for the days to come, not just a brief blip on midnight. We have to make sure this lasts, that people know exactly what happened in there tonight. Because House leadership knew civil unions would pass - they knew it - they kept it from a vote to kill it, and we need to make sure that is known. House leadership put partisan politics above our families.

One Colorado will be setting its sights on the November election, aiming to elect a pro-equality majority so that legislative failures like this no longer occur.