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Marriage bill will be introduced

By: KIM NGUYEN THE GAZETTE
April 1, 2005
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DENVER - Democrats crashed a Republican news briefing Thursday about a GOP plan to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Rep. Jim Welker, R-Loveland, had just told reporters that the Legislature must draw the line between a union of a man and woman and other unions such as between a woman and a dog.
That characterization riled Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, who attended Welker’s news conference. “C’mon, Jim, it’s not about that and you know it,” Paccione said. Paccione and Welker’s exchange is just a glimpse of the debate on same-sex marriages occurring around the state and nation. Republican lawmakers have struck first by drafting a resolution, which would give voters the decision of defining marriage in the state Constitution in 2006. It will be introduced next week. A resolution for a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority in each house. But given that requirement, the proposal has slim chances of passing. State law already defines marriage as being between a man and a woman under the Defense of Marriage Act. Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, who is spearheading the constitutional effort, said it is the “most significant domestic issue of the decade.” “Marriage is that basic unit of society which is essential for a civilized people,” he said. “Marriage is a moral compass that transcends ages, cultures and creeds.” The resolution’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Ed Jones, R-Colorado Springs, did not attend the briefing. Jones, who said he had to be at a committee meeting at the same time as the news conference, has expressed second thoughts about the resolution because it would bar the state from recognizing already established civil unions. “I’m going to be on board until I see if it’s going to conform with what I want it to be,” Jones said. He said he will continue to sponsor the resolution and is trying to drum up support for it in the Senate. CONTACT THE WRITER: 1-303-837-0697 or kim.nguyen@gazette.com
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