Rep. Amy Stephens knows that the civil unions debate hurt the GOP

According to our good friends over at ColoradoPols.com, Representative and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens told radio host Ross Kaminsky that she understands that the debate about civil unions — and the ultimate killing of the bill — hurt her party.

The bill to create civil unions had widespread public support (72% of voters to be exact), but House Republicans blocked its passage out of the House Judiciary Committee after hearing nearly 8 hours of testimony, most of it in support of the bill. The Republican decision to keep the bill from moving on to the floor, where its sponsor, Rep. Mark Ferrandino said it had enough votes to pass, shows that House Republicans are out-of-touch with everyday Colorado voters who overwhelmingly support the measure. Instead of recognizing the loving commitment between thousands of LGBT couples across the state–like Republican Senators Ellen Roberts, Nancy Spence, and Jean White–House Republicans turned their backs on Colorado families.

Several Republican community members offered testimony in support of the bill, including the President of the College Republicans. They argued that support for LGBT equality is emerging as a mainstream position in the party and called on House Republicans to allow the bill to get to the floor for a full up-or-down vote. They also warned that, if the Republican party did not embrace LGBT Coloradans, it would risk losing relevance, especially with the younger generation.

To be sure, the debate over the bill hurt Republicans. Rather than voting yes on the bill, as was asked for by more than 50 testimony speakers, House Republicans voted “no” and earned the appreciation of testimony speakers who grumbled about a state HIV/AIDS tax, screamed about Hell and damnation, and claimed that passing civil unions would lead to the end of the world. In light of the bill’s vote, we’re left to wonder if House Republicans actually agree with this hateful, homophobic rhetoric.

It’s surprising that Rep. Amy Stephens would acknowledge that the debate over civil unions hurt her party since she herself had the ability to do the right thing and bring the bill to the floor for a vote. But she chose another route.