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With 2 Days Left In Session, Civil Unions Bill In Jeopardy

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CBS4's Shaun Boyd talks with Rep. Cheri Gerou (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd talks with Rep. Cheri Gerou (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – With just two days left in the legislative session, a bill that would allow civil unions for gay couples is in jeopardy.

In the next 24 hours the bill needs to pass another committee, Republican leadership needs to send it to the floor, and then the full House needs to give it initial approval. And with time ticking it appears Republicans may try to derail the measure by running out the clock.

Even as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the budget into law on Monday morning, it seemed all anyone could talk about at the Capitol was civil unions.

“I get more and more worried as clock keeps ticking,” said Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver.

Ferrandino is a sponsor of the bill.

The bill has to pass the Appropriations Committee, but there are now questions about when and if that committee will even take it up.

“I will make decisions after what comes out of committee today as to what we’re going to do,” said Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan.

Becker says they could have up to eight bills before them Tuesday and civil unions may or may not make the cut.

“A bill of this magnitude for the state of Colorado to be rushed through in the last few days to me is not the proper decision to make,” Becker said.

Republicans accuse Democrats of playing games by holding the bill in the Senate until the last two weeks of session. Democrats accuse Republicans of playing games by holding the bill in committee until the last two days of session.

“There’s a lot of politics at play here,” said Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen.

Gerou is the latest Republican to defy party leadership and support the bill. If it makes the cut and is heard in committee Tuesday, she’ll be the swing vote that sends it to the floor.

“To me we ought to just do it and get over it and just go on,” Gerou said.

Even if the Appropriations Committee passes the bill, the full House likely won’t get it until late in the day and debate could go on and on.

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