Gay-rights organization One Colorado this week released a video as part of an ongoing campaign to to end harassment against Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people attending Colorado schools. The video features prominent political political and community leaders, including Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and US Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.
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The grassroots political dream crashed, like so many others, on the shoals of big-bucks ballot-initiative finances. Mark Olmstead, a 19-year-old Colorado voter, was spurred earlier this year by high-profile gay rights advances and increasing popular support for gay rights to try to land an initiative on the ballot in Colorado that would repeal the state’s ban on gay marriage. Nic Garcia at Out Front Colorado reports today that Olmstead decided to withdrawal his initiative after failing to win backing for the business of gathering roughly 100,000 signatures by January.
Fresh off a Denver fundraiser, Texas governor Rick Perry today became the fourth GOP candidate to sign the National Organization for Marriage’s anti marriage equality pledge. Thursday night Perry hosted a fundraiser in suburban Denver. Admission was said to be $5,000 a pop.
Survey results released by Public Policy Polling this week underline broad support in Colorado for some form of legislation that would grant gay couples equal partnership rights. Although Republican members of the House Judicial Committee last year quashed a popular civil unions bill, PPP found that even among Colorado Republican voters, support for civil unions-style legislation is now nearing 60 percent.
A recent study of workplace discrimination against the LGBT community reveal that high numbers of the community are still discriminated against at their place of work.
During an emotional eight-hour hearing on same-sex civil unions at the capitol in Denver Thursday, a long list of witnesses on both sides of the issue told emotional stories of life as gay and transgender Americans. More than a few wept as they talked about shame, discrimination and systemic bias. Others quoting scripture warned of the end times the bill would surely hasten unto the Centennial State should it pass. The five committee Democrats took turns agreeing and disagreeing with witnesses, debating theology, Constitutional history and the horrors of the Jim Crow South and the Holocaust. The six members of the majority bloc Republicans on the committee, however, had little to say. They watched and listened and, without really elaborating their positions, voted as a bloc against sending the legislation to the full House for debate and a vote. They stone-cold killed the bill.
The coming debate in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee on same-sex civil unions bill SB 172 will center on Republican arguments for and against the legislation. The debate scheduled to take place under the Dome in Denver Thursday will underline the dynamics shaping the larger national debate on gay rights– a debate that now pits Republicans against Republicans because Democrats and Independents have already made up their minds on the matter.
Senate Republicans delivered Pat Steadman’s same-sex civil unions bill to the Republican-controlled House Thursday with momentum and a message. Although the twelve Republican men in the Senate voted against it, the three Republican women in the Senate voted in favor of the bill, making the case to leaders of the Republican-controlled House to take up the bill with good faith and allow it to move beyond committees and onto the floor of the House for a vote.
The gay and lesbian community are one step closer to being able to participate in state sanctioned unions after the Colorado Senate voted to pass on second reading SB 172. Democrats heralded the bill as a historic moment in the fight for civil rights and the protection of children.
Thursday, Denver Mayoral Candidates James Mejia and Doug Linkhart issued statements endorsing the civil unions bill currently making its uncertain way through the Legislature. They join fellow candidate Chris Romer who issued a similar statement earlier this week.