McNulty’s sins not forgotten at Pride
June 21, 2012 | 11:24 am
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:23 pm)
It’s the Wednesday before PrideFest and I’m walking into Charlie’s. Before I can whip out my ID to show Frank that I’m above the legal drinking limit I am asked if my voter registration is up-to-date.
I saw the man with the clipboard from the other side of the parking lot. He was wearing cut-off jorts and a tank. Was he going to ask me for money? Or was he going to ask me to sign a petition — neither of which I do. No, he asked me if my voter registration was up-to-date.
He was with the Obama campaign. He made sure to note he wasn’t suggesting who to vote for. But in the next breath he reminded me the president had just come out in support of full marriage equality.
As it turns out, he and dozens of other volunteers had been stationed at all the gay bars and at Civic Center during the homo holiday.
Smart. But not unprecedented. In fact, for years politicians and operatives have used Pride and gay bars — especially Charlie’s — as a way to get their name and causes out.
Most recently, it was in 2006 when 20,000 signatures were collected at PrideFest for the Domestic Partnership Act, aka Referendum I. Then a lobbyist and attorney, Pat Steadman told Out Front the petition was the “antidote” and “insurance policy” against another ballot initiative that would forbid civil unions.
Later that year, Amendment 43 passed, defining marriage between a man and a woman, but spared civil unions. Ref I failed. The more restrictive ballot question pushed by Colorado Springs’ Coloradans for Family Values never made it to the ballot.
It had to have been a little bit of déjà vu for Steadman, now a state Senator. He was back at PrideFest, this time as a grand marshal and speaker. Earlier this year, he and state Rep. Mark Ferrandino sponsored a The Colorado Civil Union Act. The bill died twice this year.
“The bill I sponsored came this close,” Steadman told PrideFest-goers at Civic Center. The parade had just ended. “And next year, we’re going to get it done.”
They will, that is, if Democrats keep control of the state Senate and wins a majority in the House. “It’s all about who you elect,” Steadman said.
The crowd booed at the mere hint of Republican Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, who Democrats charge was the reason why the bill never made it to the House floor for a full vote.
“If you’re not registered to vote — do it today,” Steadman said.
The original headline for this column was going to be “Politics falls under the radar at PrideFest.” Why? The rally featuring the state’s four out gay lawmakers drew a smaller crowd. It was a fraction of the thousands that were just beginning to fill Civic Center and hadn’t made their way to the amphitheater.
But after reading Terrell Wallin’s story on page 9, it’s clear no one has forgotten about the sins of McNulty.
I had wrongly assumed that vodka and dubstep would take precedence to petitions and voter registration. And it doesn’t look like that will change until November.
As Rep. Sue Schafer pointed out, the Democrats are going to “keep up the fight in every county.”
“We’re never going to stop,” she said. “Let’s win the election from the top of the ticket.”