.- Colorado legislators who killed a civil unions bill âdid the right thingâ and deserve votersâ thanks, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver said. He warned that the proposal would increase pressure for âgay marriageâ and will likely return âwhether Coloradans like it or not.â
Opponents of the bill acted in the face of âunfriendly media coverage and heavy political pressure,â the archbishop wrote in his weekly column for the Denver Catholic Register. Tabling the bill âtook courage, especially in an environment of bitter criticism.â
The proposal, S.B. 172, would have created civil unions for homosexual and unmarried heterosexual couples. It failed in the Republican-controlled Colorado House Judiciary Committee by a party line vote of 6-5.
Archbishop Chaput criticized civil unions, saying the basic rights of homosexual persons are already guaranteed. The civil unions debate, he said, is not about love or personal equality, which civil unions ensure no better than marriage.
âThe civil unions debate is finally about securing legitimacy for social arrangements and personal behaviors that most societies and religious traditions have found problematic from long experience,â he wrote.
People see the unions as morally troubling not because they are hateful, fearful, bigoted or uneducated, but because âtheyâve carefully thought through the implications for society at large,â the Denver archbishop said.
âSame-sex unions, whatever legal form they take, cannot create new life. They cannot duplicate the love of a man and woman. But they do copy marriage and family, and in the process, they compete with and diminish the uniquely important status of both.â
Civil unions do not lessen the political pressure for âgay marriageâ but increase it, he warned.
He added that Colorado voters rejected a ballot proposal for domestic partnerships in 2006.
âOne of the lessons we need to learn from Californiaâs continuing Proposition 8 battle is that when it comes to the cultural struggle over marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, the âwill of the peopleâ is rarely sovereign,â Archbishop Chaput said. âThe mass media, the courts and aggressive special interests treat an annoying popular vote as not much more than modeling clay that needs to be reworked.â
The stateâs Republicans have a bare majority of 33-32 in the House of Representatives. Civil unions advocates have pledged to work to elect a Democratic legislature in 2012.
Archbishop Chaputâs column also included contact information for the House Judiciary Committee members who voted to kill the bill: Reps. Bob Gardner, Mark Barker, Brian DelGrosso, B.J. Nikkel, Jerry Sonnenberg and Mark Waller.
He asked readers to contact the legislators, thank them and âencourage them with your support.â He also asked readers to contact their own state senator and representative to express support for marriage and opposition to civil unions.
âThis is the kind of issue that can influence the future for decades. What you think, what you say and what you do today matters,â he said.
Archbishop Chaputâs full column can be found at: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/5791