The Denver Post
A bill to allow same-sex couples to form civil unions died on the calendar late Tuesday, taking down more than 30 other measures with it in a dramatic game of political chicken in which no one would blink.
When Republican Speaker Frank McNulty acknowledged there was an impasse and abruptly ended his news conference on the House floor, Coloradans watching in the gallery started chanting: "Shame on you! Shame on you!"
Everyone was kicked out of the gallery after someone yelled, "I hope you (expletive) die!"
The stunning turn of events on the second-to-last day of the 2012 session had been brewing since Thursday, when a Republican lawmaker voted with Democrats to pass the civil unions bill out of committee.
conservatives who believed the bill would die in the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee for the second year in a row were enraged and lobbied McNulty and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens to use every procedure to kill Senate Bill 2.
That's exactly what happened, but in the process of making sure civil unions died on the calendar, a slew of other bills became casualties too.
Among the bills ensnared in the tug-of-war in the House: $20 million worth of water projects statewide and a bill that sets a standard for driving while stoned.
Throughout the evening, Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and a supporter of gay rights, worked with legislative leaders to try to break the impasse, briefly meeting with McNulty outside the speaker's office.
At another point, Republican Mark Waller of Colorado Springs and Democrat Mark Ferrandino held dueling news conferences on the House floor.
Longtime veterans of Capitol politics could not remember a more suspenseful end to a session, which by law must end at midnight tonight.
Waller, the assistant majority leader, blamed Senate Democrats for the clock running out, saying they held onto the bill for months before sending it to the House on April 27.
Read more: Civil unions bill killed along with 30 other bills in late-night game of political chicken - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20578893/colorado-civil-unions-bill-passes-last-committee-supporters#ixzz1uN84YRf8
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012
The Denver Post