Republican Lawmakers Support Colorado Civil Unions (and NY Marriage?)

While the Maryland bill for full marriage equality and its support from prominent Catholics is garnering the headlines, I am increasingly interested in the parallel progress towards civil unions in Colorado. On the face of it, the bill should struggle. Democrats control the state Senate, but the GOP has control of the lower house, and the state is a well known base for the religious right, who have mounted strong opposition. The bill is going nowhere without Republican support and religious support – but this support is now emerging.

The first step in the bill’s journey through the legislative process was secured in a Senate committee, with the help of a Republican, Sen. Ellen Roberts, who did so on eminently conservative grounds:

A Republican lawmaker in Colorado bucked her party’s stance on Monday and cast the key vote to advance a bill that would bestow the rights of marriage on unmarried same sex partners.

Speaking to The Colorado Independent, state Sen. Ellen Roberts (R) said it must have been her “libertarian streak” that convinced her to do it.

I don’t think we should be in the business of legislating religion and morality,” she reportedly added.

The Raw Story

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Lesbian Judge for Colorado State Supreme Court

While much of the headline news over the struggle for queer equality is devoted to the high-profile national stories, great progress is being made across a broad front at state and local level. This story, of an important judicial appointment in Colorado, is one of many that deserves wider attention:

Relief and skepticism both are greeting Colorado’s next member of the state Supreme Court. Monica Marquez is the first Latina and the first openly gay jurist on the state’s high court.

Marquez was named by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the court. Marquez is currently deputy Colorado attorney general and is past president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association.

A gay state senator tells The Pueblo Chieftain that Marquez’s appointment means racial and sexual preference barriers are no longer there. But a conservative critic of the court tells The Denver Post that he suspects Marquez was picked not because of her merits but to appeal to “special interests.”

Edge Dallas