Republican lawmaker wants gay marriage amendment
Associated Press Writer
DENVER ” A Republican-led news conference Thursday calling for a voter-approved ban on gay marriage included a sharp exchange after a state lawmaker brought up bestiality as he said the issue needed to be addressed.
Rep. Jim Welker, R-Loveland, said voters need to draw the line on what marriage is and noted a woman in India had married her dog a year and a half ago.
Democratic Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, confronted Welker.
“Come on, Jim. It’s not the same ” it’s not the same to have someone marry a dog than it is to have two loving people get married,” she said.
Paccione said the “moderate majority” that elected Democrats to power at the Capitol last fall wants lawmakers to focus on “kitchen table” issues like jobs, education and health care and not gay marriage.
The child of a biracial couple, she also bristled at denying citizens rights because of their sexual orientation, saying it was once illegal for blacks and whites to marry.
The news conference was led by Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, who said protecting traditional marriage is the “most significant domestic issue of the decade.”
He said the Legislature should give voters a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions. He is expected to introduce a resolution backing the amendment in a few days but admits the chances of getting the necessary two-thirds support to get it on the ballot are “dim.”
Last year, Lundberg failed to get a majority of members in the Republican-controlled House to back GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s proposed gay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The question before us today is will the time-honored institution of marriage between one man and one woman remain as the core institution for our great nation, or will unelected judges reduce the legal definition of marriage to any combination of anyone?” Lundberg asked.
Colorado already has a law defining marriage as being a union between one man and one woman. Lundberg said putting that definition into the constitution would have more standing in the courts.
Lundberg said the amendment wouldn’t prevent people from making a contract with each other over property or making medical decisions but it would outlaw civil unions, which he referred to as “marriage lite.”
“But when we get so close to say this looks like, this feels like, this acts like marriage, then I believe we need to draw the line and say either marriage is between a man and a woman exclusively or anything goes,” he said.
Rep. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, said protecting traditional marriages would help save money on schools and prisons because children raised by two parents are less likely to need extra aide or get in trouble with the law.
If legislators fail to refer the measure, Lundberg said he would support a voter-initiated ballot plan but he said he is not working on one.
Earlier this year, Focus on the Family said it was in the early stages of working to put a similar amendment on the ballot in 2006. The Colorado Springs-based group declined comment Thursday.
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