LIVE BLOG: Ferrandino’s Day
• History will be made when first gay man is elected speaker
• Eight out lawmakers make Colorado's legislature gayest in nation
• Civil union bill to be re-introduced, expected to pass quickly
January 9, 2013 | 8:01 am
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:42 pm)
It’s rare that history is made any more. But today just happens to be one of those days in the Centennial State.
As the Colorado General Assembly opens today for its regular session, Mark Ferrandino, a Denver Democrat, is expected to become the first openly gay man to be elected, by his peers, Speaker of the House.
Ferrandino assumes his new title after he was first elected minority leader in 2012 when state Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, stepped aside to focus on his Congressional campaign.
The Democrat will be joined by another record-breaking seven out gay and lesbian lawmakers: state Reps. Sue Schafer of Wheat Ridge, Paul Rosenthal of Denver, Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, Joann Ginal of Fort Collins and state Sens. Pat Steadman, Lucia Guzman, both of Denver, and Jessie Ulibarri of Commerce City.
All eight out lawmakers are Democrats. Colorado’s legislature now has the highest percentage of LGBT lawmakers in the nation.
Additionally, with Democrats taking over the House after the 2012 election, and holding onto its five seat majority in the upper chamber, the Colorado Civil Union Act, which will also be re-introduced today, is expected to pass sometime between mid-February and mid-March.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has promised to sign the bill into law.
The relationship recognition bill, killed three times during the last two years by then-Speaker Frank McNulty and his Republican leadership, will make Colorado the ninth state to offer legal protections similar to marriage for same-sex couples. Colorado’s Constitution defines marriage between a man and a woman.
Steadman and Guzman will be the title sponsors in the Senate. Ferrandino and Schafer will carry the bill in the House.
Out Front will be posting regular updates throughout the day life from the Capitol.
UPDATED @ 11:52 a.m.
Newly elected speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino urged bipartisan support on a number of issues facing Colorado including economic development, education, health and safety.
The first openly gay man to hold the speaker’s gavel also urged bipartisan support to pass the Colorado Civil Union Act, a law that would provide legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples.
“Each of us now represent roughly 75,000 Coloradans,” Ferrandino told House members. “On their behalf, we have a serious job to do. And we will not get it done if we approach it from a partisan point of view.”
UPDATED @ 11:09 a.m.
A brief scan of Speaker Ferrandino’s prepared remarks only shows one mention of civil unions. The speech is under embargo until its delivered. Stay tuned.
UPDATE @ 11:02 a.m.
WATCH: Rep. Mark Ferrandino elected Speaker of the House 65-0.
UPDATE @10:46 a.m.
Rep. Mark Ferrandino has been officially elected the first openly gay Speaker of the House by a unanimous vote.
UPDATE @ 10:24 a.m.
As a procedure, Rep. Frank McNulty is still the Speaker of the House until an official vote by the full House on.
UPDATE @ 10:15 a.m.
The House is in session. The pledge of allegiance was led by Rep. Mark Ferrandino’s niece and nephew, Abbey and Owen. The House is making its way through procedural measures before getting to the official election of Rep. Mark Ferrandino as Speaker of the House.
UPDATE @ 9:51
The House is about nine minutes from being called to order. State representatives-elect are being sworn in by the Colorado Chief Justice. Both current Speaker Frank McNulty and Speaker-elect are on the floor waiting to start.