Colorado Republican leaders were attempting to avoid discussion of civil union legislation ahead of a special session called by the governor to consider that issue and a half-dozen other topics.
The session is to start Monday, and this week, the legislature’s Republicans appeared divided on the issue. Some supported the legislation, which the Democratic-controlled state Senate has already passed; others blocked its consideration.
The debate comes at a time when the country is grappling with the issue, highlighted by the president’s announcement Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, issued an executive order Thursday calling for the special session specifically to address civil unions.
“We believe that it is in the public interest of the state of Colorado to provide any two adult persons with the opportunity to enter into a civil union,” the governor wrote. “Civil union is not marriage. Many couples living in Colorado have publicly expressed a desire to enter into civil unions that would afford them critical legal benefits, protections and responsibilities that the state grants to other couples.”