Friday, May 18, 2012
Framing Gay Rights – It’s a Battle
There is a high-level fight going on to frame what just happened in the Colorado Legislature over gay marriage rights.
Republicans are advertising on KOA that “Governor Hickenlooper and the Democrats” special session is wasting $25,000 a day on gay marriage while ignoring jobs and the economy. And, the Democrats are attacking House Speaker Frank McNulty as using raw power and undemocratic procedures to thwart the will of a majority of the House, and according to polls, the preference of the public.
Both sides expect the issue to be important in a tough November legislative election as Republicans defend their one-vote majority. It’s not clear gay rights will be on voters’ minds, but clearly it will be used with some constituencies and in some close races. More importantly, it will add a lot of money to the process. A host of Republican and Democratic big money players showed up to support gay rights.
Although gay marriage rights has made considerable progress in public opinion, a defeat with Colorado voters in 2006 is the primary reason it will be at least another year – 7 since the defeat – before civil unions will pass the legislature. Also in 2006, Colorado voters, by a 10 point margin, passed a constitutional ban on legal gay marriage (55% to 45%), joining what is now 30 states with bans.
Because of the 2006 loss, Democrats did not attempt to pass a civil unions bill in the 2007 to 2010 sessions when they controlled both houses of the legislature and the governorship.
Although they made progress in 2012, with the help of Republican leaders being blindsided by rebellious members, the 2006 vote was still a major factor as it was cited as the main reason Republicans voted against civil unions.
Denver Post: Colorado House speaker set trend aside in opposing civil unions
Public Policy Polling: Coloradans support gay marriage
9NEWS: Special session ends without passage of key bills