Whew, Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty is having a tough week.
After being bombarded by supporters of the state's civil unions bill to the point where his voicemail kept filling itself up every 25 minutes, then being criticized for allowing the bill to die a slow but pointed death on the clock only to have Governor John Hickenlooper resurrect it, McNulty also caught national criticism from MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow.
That same day Hickenlooper held a press conference to call a special legislative session to allow time for the remaining bills to be heard, including the much-anticipated civil unions bill, President Obama told ABC News in a historic interview that he is now officially supporting same-sex marriage.
The announcement could hardly have come in the midst of a bigger whirlwind. Just the day before, North Carolina voters voted in favor of Amendment 1, defining marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman. That same day Coloradans watched as Republican opposition to a civil unions bill blocked it plus 30 other bills, including the marijuana DUI bill, from coming up to debate when Speaker McNulty called a controversial three-hour recess exactly three hours before midnight.
Maddow then gave McNulty flack for going against the wishes of the American public:
So there was almost progress for gay couples in Colorado from third class citizenship to second class citizenship yesterday but the Republican speaker of the house took a stand and stopped that progress killing 30 other pieces of legislation in the process. Whew, close one.
If you follow the issue of gay rights in public policy you know that public opinion has been shifting on this subject. Support for same-sex marriage rights in polling has been going up and up and up, but public opinion shifting on this issue has not affected most Republican politicians. In fact, the most visible Republican politicians in this country have become more anti-gay over time.
Openly-gay House Minority leader Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, however, who sponsored the civil unions bill last year, thanked Maddow for bringing the issue to attention over Twitter.