In our coverage yesterday about a pro-civil unions rally on the west steps of the State Capitol (it's on view below), we asked: "Can Colorado House leaders be shamed into giving a chance to thecivil unions bill
?" Turns out the answer is "no." The civil unions bill died because of a procedural technicality, leaving Jace Woodrum, deputy executive director of One Colorado and a leading proponent of the measure, "angry and pissed off and frustrated."
In a statement made last night and captured on video in a clip viewable below, Woodrum traced the chain of events for supporters.
"We had a bill with incredible support on both sides of the aisle," he said, "passing through the Senate with bipartisan support, passing through three House committees."
What went wrong?
"In the House, the Republicans are in control," he explained. "They're the majority. They're in leadership. They determine when bills are heard."
As he saw it, "the process for our bill was pretty clear. After it got through three House committees, it was time for our bill to be heard on the floor." But instead, he went on, "the House, faced with a deadline...needed to have second reading of the bill before midnight tonight. Take a voice vote on the bill, talk about amendments -- take a vote before midnight, so we could have third and final reading and a full vote tomorrow. That did not happen."
The civil unions bill wasn't the only piece of legislation to die in this manner. "Because they didn't bring it to a vote," Woodrum pointed out, "they were willing to kill nearly thirty other bills that also needed to be heard tonight in order to have a third reading tomorrow" -- including the controversial THC driving bill, which seemed to have been steaming toward passage.
Woodrum considers this scorched-earth approach "unprecedented," maintaining that the House leadership "decided to play politics with our families. They put their reelection, their election, partisan politics ahead of doing the right thing and standing on the right side of history."
Next steps for One Colorado and the bill's backers? First, said Woodrum, "we have to make sure that what happened tonight is understood for the days to come.... This should be the story of the legislative session."
Secondly, he allowed, the civil unions bloc needs "to elect a pro-equality majority so that people in power in this building support our families."
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Here's the clip of Woodrum's full statement, followed by photos from the rally.
Page down to see photos of yesterday's civil unions bill rally. Original item, 12:03 p.m. May 8: Can Colorado House leaders be shamed into giving a chance to the civil unions bill? That's the hope of supporters, who gathered in force on the State Capitol's West steps amid chants of "Let them vote!" The bill escaped a committee thanks to backing from Republican Representative B.J. Nikkel, but GOP gatekeepers can still prevent it from being considered before session's end. We should know its fate by day's end. In the meantime, here are photos from the rally. Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Politics archive: "B.J. Nikkel civil unions vote: Coincidence she's not running for reelection?"