Growing minority of lawmakers questions opening prayer

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2001

DENVER (AP) -- A small but growing group of state representatives is questioning the practice of opening each session of the Colorado House with a prayer.

''There are a group of us who feel it is inappropriate,'' said Rep. Dan Grossman, a Denver Democrat and the House minority leader.

In one of the first votes of the 2001 session this month, 12 of the 65 House members tried to derail the usually routine vote allowing a priest, minister or rabbi to give a short invocation at the start of the House's day.

Until this year, objections to the prayers in the House and Senate were mostly quiet, with a handful of senators and representatives staying out of the chambers until the prayers were finished.

The state pays $25 to the clergy member delivering the prayer. The House paid $1,925 for prayers last year and the Senate $2,075. During the past three years, both houses have spent a total of nearly $12,000 for clergy.

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