DENVER (AP) - Colorado Democrats have elected the first openly gay House speaker in state history, giving control of the chamber to a man who was the public face of a fierce debate over civil union legislation that Republicans defeated six months ago.
Democratic lawmakers on Thursday picked Denver Rep. Mark Ferrandino to lead the state House, which they re-took in this week's election. His election won't be official until lawmakers reconvene in January and Republicans ratify the pick.
According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, there are currently two openly gay House speakers in state legislatures: John Perez in California and Gordon Fox in Rhode Island.
Ferrandino's ascent is particularly notable in a state where voters banned gay marriage six years ago, and prohibited municipalities from passing laws to protect gays from discrimination 20 years ago.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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