An emotional Gov. John Hickenlooper held a press conference Wednesday afternoon announcing a special legislative session that would be used to readdress some of the bills that were killed by yesterday's House Republican leadership, including the high profile same-sex civil unions bill.
"I don't control the Senate or the House, you may have noticed that," the governor joked. "But I can try to channel the energy of the people of Colorado." And Hickenlooper intends to do that by holding a special session where the House will have a chance to call the civil unions bill--and several others related to safety, the economy and unemployment the governor suggested--as soon as Monday or Friday.
When the press conference got started, Hickenlooper appeared jovial at first, but he quickly, and briefly, became choked up when he began to talk about civil unions. He recalled a call he received, presumably from a civil unions supporter, asking him, "If not now, when?" Hickenlooper, who has been vocal about his support for civil unions and called for a civil unions bill to be passed during his State of the State address in January, spoke candidly throughout the conference. At one point, the governor even said emphatically that sexual orientation is not a choice.
It has been two days filled with same-sex marriage and civil unions news. First North Carolinians voted for an amendment that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions. Then the drama in the Colorado House, where Colorado Republicans blocked Senate Bill 2 and 30 other bills from coming up for debate. And capped off by President Barack Obama himself announcing support for same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney reiterating his opposition to same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Hickenlooper was vague about when the special session would occur (suggesting Friday or Monday) and how many bills might be added to the agenda for reassessment, saying only that he wanted to wait until the regular legislative session ended Wednesday to see what bills were left and for the special session to be focused.
However, as Hickenlooper said in the press conference, he can't force the lawmakers to vote. Meaning just calling the special session does not guarantee the same kind of stalling that took place on Tuesday wouldn't take place again. And as Lynn Bartels pointed out on Twitter, special sessions don't come cheap:
The governor did say there is a special fund reserved for special sessions and it would not require additional taxpayer money.
More than 50 supporters of the civil unions bill took to the governor's Facebook page calling on him to call for a special session. Joey Cordova from Denver wrote: "Call a special session to pass civil unions please! There is no greater issue than LOVE."
And now that he has, his page has been flooded with posts of thanks. "Thank you for standing up for what's right by calling a special session for the civil unions bill," one Ashley Mills wrote. "Last night I was so ashamed to be affiliated with this state but today I am so very proud!"