Ken Buck’s campaign manager backing civil unions bill
DENVER — Two years after Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck compared homosexuality to alcoholism in the closing weeks of a campaign he went on to lose, his former campaign manager has come out in support of legislation to recognize same-sex civil unions in Colorado.
John Swartout, who ran Buck’s 2010 campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet, signaled his support for Senate Bill 2 in a press release issued Tuesday by One Colorado, a statewide LGBT advocacy group.
“Supporting civil unions is about freedom,” Swartout said in the press release. “Individuals should be free to pursue a life of meaning and purpose as they define it. Government should not treat gay couples differently than it does straight couples.”
Swartout, now running a non-profit, adds his name to a list of Republicans who have been more vocal about their support for civil unions a year after House Republicans killed last year’s bill.
GOP attorney Mario Nicolais has also organized a group of Republicans who support civil unions, “Coloradans for Freedom”, to highlight conservative support for the legislation based on principles of limited government and personal freedom.
Buck, who is still the Weld County District Attorney, narrowly lost Colorado’s 2010 Senate contest to Bennet after several comments about homosexuality and gender issues that hurt him with swing voters.
Despite the prominent Colorado conservatives supporting civil unions, and polls showing a majority of Coloradans also support it, the bill faces a tough test when it gets to the House, where Republicans still hold a one-seat majority and, as a result, control of all House committees.
Thus far, none of the seven Republicans on the committee that will likely hear the bill have signaled that they’ve had a change of heart since last year and are planning to support it.