The lone Republican legislator responsible for killing Colorado’s civil unions bill voted against it even though his son and only child is gay. Rep. Don Coram of Montrose cast the deciding vote on a 5-4 party line vote May 14. Rep. Coram is the father of Dee Coram, who runs the Coffee Trader, a popular coffee bar in downtown Montrose. Dee Coram has served on a local economic development board, has been active in helping revitalize downtown Montrose and even got an award from the Governor for his work. Dee Coram says his father not only let him down, but also let down the entire gay community. Commenting on his father’s vote, Coram said, “I was told by my grandfather, there’s always a time to lead and there’s always a time to follow. He was given a time to lead, and he didn’t do it. He could have and should have been the deciding vote.” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called the special session to address the civil unions bill after Republican maneuvering blocked it from coming to a vote in the entire House, where it had enough votes to pass. The bill had already received the approval of three separate House committees during the regular session and had enough bipartisan support to pass in the full House. To kill it, House Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) assigned the bill to yet a fourth committee — the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee — where he knew it would not pass. Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D), the legislator who introduced the bill, called it the “Kill Committee.” When asked why he sent it to that committee, McNulty said “This is Gov. Hickenlooper’s special session that he called for the purpose of passing same-sex marriage. From our perspective, our side is focused on job creation and economic recovery.” In his explanation, McNulty incorrectly conflated civil unions with marriage. The bill did not give same-sex couples the ability to marry. Republicans also failed to pass many bills this session that would have created jobs, including a multi-million dollar water infrastructure project. Don Coram says he is “very proud” of his son, who called him to ask him to vote in favor of the bill. Rep. Coram told his son, “I love you, but absolutely not.” The two haven’t spoken since the vote.
Main source: Denver Post, May 14, 2012