The Colorado House of Representatives approved prayer in legislative sessions despite opponents' concern that such activity would blur the lines between church and state.
In a 40 to 25 vote, the House voted in favor to include morning prayer in its schedule, which gives the speaker the discretion to allow prayer after the call to order.
Holding prayer is nothing new in the House. Prayer is usually allowed before the call to order, and not during sessions.
Democrats – most of who were opposed – voiced displeasure in discussions for the bill Tuesday.
"I don't see any reason to change this. It blurs the separation of church and state," Rep. Matt Jones (D-Colorado) said to the Denver Post, emphasizing that the previous prayer schedule had been a good compromise.
Republicans, however, maintain that no laws were broken because prayers are routinely performed by religious leaders at the House. Each prayer usually lasts 2 minutes, and do not favor any particular religious denomination or group.
"It doesn't prescribe the kind of prayer," House Majority Leader Amy Stephens (R-Monument) said of the new ruling. "We have a variety of beliefs that come here to this body, some of which I may personally agree or disagree with."
A few Democrats had even crossed party lines to vote in favor for the change, alongside 33 Republicans. In addition, minority leader Sal Pace (D-Pueblo) said that he was not concerned with the new ruling.
According to local news, Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests and Baptist ministers routinely lead morning prayers in the House.