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Colorado Civil Unions Bill: Measure Could Die If Session Ends Before Bill Is Heard On House Floor

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After passing through the state Senate and two House committees already, could Colorado's civil unions bill die before it gets a chance to be fully debated? That's just what House Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) told The Denver Post could happen if the House leadership does not bring the bill up for a debate.

McNulty said that the Republicans that control the House are not obligated to bring up the bill for debate after it gets out of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, despite that the civil unions bill (SB 12-002) is believed to have enough votes to pass in the House. The bill is expected to pass the House Appropriations committee on Tuesday, but if it is not brought up for debate by Wednesday--the last day of the legislative session--the bill would simply run out of time and die.

McNulty went on to say to The Denver Post that this isn't the first time this has happened, that Senate Democrats let bills die on the calendar just last year. So, is McNulty suggesting that there could be some kind of revenge bill-killing?

Considering McNulty's warning to lawmakers just last Friday accusing Senate Democrats of purposely taking months to move the bill to the House to force a decision during these final days of the legislative session, according The Associated Press, it's not entirely clear.

But it's probably more a likely matter of time, or lack thereof, in the House. Fox31 reports that lawmakers have dozens of bills to consider before the Wednesday deadline and McNulty is just insisting that the civil unions bill, although it has a "higher profile" than other bills as McNulty pointed out himself, will not get special treatment.

Gov. Hickenlooper doesn't think McNulty or House Republicans would intentionally stand in the way of the bill from being debated. Hickenlooper, optimistic that this could be the year that the bill passes the House said at a press conference on Friday, "This will be a moment of historical significance for the state of Colorado."

If the bill gets to Hickenlooper's desk, it is expected that he would sign it into law. In his State of the State Address at the beginning of 2012, Hickenlooper urged lawmakers to "pass civil unions this year."

If passed, SB 12-002 would not allow gay marriage, but it would grant gay couples rights similar to that of married couples including enhanced inheritance and perental rights as well as legal involvement in a partner's medical decisions, according to 7News.

Read the full text of the bill here.

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