Colorado resumes same-sex marriage debate

June 29, 2011 at 8:03 PM
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DENVER, June 29 (UPI) -- Heated debate over same-sex marriage has rekindled in Colorado, following New York lawmakers' decision to make it legal.

A civil-unions bill died in the Colorado Legislature this year but state Sen. Pat Steadman and state Rep. Mark Ferrandino, both gay Denver Democrats, and gay-rights activists say they plan to try again next year, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.

Carrie Gordon Earll, spokeswoman for CitizenLink, the political arm of Focus on the Family," says "Colorado's not New York" and the state's GOP lawmakers "are free thinkers, in the sense they are going to vote and stand the way they want on this." She says Steadman and Ferrandino have been playing rhetorical hardball, throwing barbs high and tight at Republican leaders.

Steadman says gay marriage "shouldn't be hardball politics."

"It should be about fundamental rights, about the freedom to live your own lives without busybody meddling from groups like Focus on the Family or the government," said Steadman, who has praised New York's Republican leadership on the issue in that state.

Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty, a Republican, says he doesn't know which way the Legislature will go on the issue but suggests Democrats will use the bill as a wedge issue.

"But the one thing that is absolutely clear," he said, "is that until the economy recovers, our focus is going to be on jobs and the economy and not pushing a social agenda."

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