Colorado’s 2012 legislative session ended early Wednesday in a bitter deadlock over a civil-unions bill, but Gov. John Hickenlooper plans to call a special session to make sure the issue is fully debated and is brought to a vote, according to the Denver Post
Republicans had complained Democrats were trying to ram the bill through in the last minutes of the session. But Democrats accused Republican leaders of blocking the measure by bringing up a string of smaller bills for debate.
The Post reported Thursday that Hickenlooper was at times emotional as he spoke about the possibility of a special session, perhaps as early as Friday, to address the issue.
He told reporters that not allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions was “depriving people of their civil rights.”
“I spent a long time in the restaurant business,” the Democratic governor said. “A lot of people who helped us create that business didn’t have the same amount of rights as everybody else. I had a call yesterday from one of them just to ask, ‘If not now, when?’”
The governor’s staff said the special session would be called not just to address the civil-unions bill, but other measures as well that were not taken care of during the regular session.
But Hickenlooper made it clear that civil unions would be a priority, according to the Post.
“I think our goal is to make sure we do everything we can to try to make sure there is a fair, open debate on the floor of the House and the Senate,” the governor said, “that the issue gets discussed, and that we allow people the chance to vote on it, and that we move this entire state forward to make sure, as Martin Luther King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
Despite his call for a special session, the Post noted there is no guarantee that lawmakers will act. Even if the session convenes, Republicans, who have majority control, could call for adjournment.
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