DENVER — Democratic lawmakers in Colorado sustained a wrenching defeat in the final days of the legislative session last spring. A bill that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples was blocked from getting a full vote in the State House of Representatives by Republican leaders, who knew Democrats had the votes to pass it.
But this week, Democrats here regained control of the House, buttressed by a favorably redrawn legislative map and simmering anger over the civil unions debate.
And on Thursday, punctuating the moment, Democratic lawmakers elected the state’s first openly gay speaker of the House.
The new speaker, State Representative Mark Ferrandino, a Democrat from Denver, was a co-sponsor of the civil unions bill and has vowed to bring it back when the session resumes in January.