On their Friday afternoon show, Grassroots Radio hosts Ken Clark and Jason Worley, along with activist Kanda Calef, brought up a post I wrote a couple days ago about an upcoming primary between House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, and Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan. Among other things, they pointed to Looper saying she didn’t support civil unions for homosexual couples, and said that Stephens’ campaign consultant Dustin Olson had his facts wrong.
That’s not completely true, and I should have specified that Looper DID tell me in March that she supported civil unions, as long as the definition of marriage remained between a man and a woman. Our conversation took place in the context of a bill at the time that would have established civil unions in Colorado. The measure had just been approved by a Senate committee, and I was talking to people about its chances in the House.
I was surprised when Looper told me that she would support it, which is why it stuck in my mind. I reported what Looper told me on Thursday afternoon, but I suppose I should have made this clearer.
I am drawing no conclusions here, but Looper told me in March that she supported civil unions, and told me Thursday after much prodding that she absolutely does not support them. Initially in our conversation, she said, “It’s important that in a conversation about civil unions, that we protect the sanctity of marriage.”
She continued, “I can’t support (civil unions) at this point in time… But I have an obligation to listen to the conversation.”
“I’d have to take a look at it and consider it,” Looper said.
I said it sounded like she was leaving the door open on the issue, and then she said, “I do not support a civil unions bill. I’m not leaving the door open. I don’t have any plans on opening the door to civil unions. But as a legislator, I do have a duty to listen to constituents.”
Later in the conversation, I also pressed her on whether she thought SB-200, a.k.a. “Amycare,” was a turning point for Stephens, and whether it would prove to be a major issue in the race. Though she had voted against the measure, Looper didn’t exactly jump at the chance to attack Stephens.
“A majority of the constituents are opposed to Obamacare, and they were opposed to SB 200, and that’s why I voted against it. But that has nothing to do with my respect for Rep. Stephens,” she said.
” That is one of the very significant issues. Health care exchanges are a part of Obamacare,” Looper said.
But she added several times that she has “great respect” for Stephens, and said a primary is “the last thing in the world I ever would have wanted to do.”
Stephens said she has not spoken to former Sen. Dave Schultheis about the race, despite the perception that he has been driving much of the fight against Stephens, and helped recruit former Air Force Maj. Gen. Gar Graham to run against her. (Graham dropped his challenge to Stephens on Thursday.)