In February, nine Denver couples filed a legal challenge to a Colorado Constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. An additional couple has filed a similar case in Adams County. Now, that effort is getting some public outreach support.
Last week brought the launch of Why Marriage Matters Colorado, a campaign aimed at winning over Coloradans on the issue of same-sex marriage. The campaign is being led by One Colorado
, ACLU of Colorado
, and Freedom to Marry
. It has a web site at whymarriagematterscolorado.org
that features petitions and stories from gay and lesbian couples in the state, including one lesbian couple in Colorado Springs
Dave Montez, executive director of One Colorado, says the plan is to have same-sex couples talk to business, religious and civil leaders to gain support.
“We know that it’s by these conversations that people understand why marriage is important to these families,” he says.
Change could come either from a court ruling or a ballot issue. Montez says right now the focus is on a court win, either within the state or with a broad ruling from the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is hearing cases from other states in the region. But Montez says a 2016 ballot initiative hasn’t been ruled out.
“We can’t put our eggs in one basket,” he says. “We need to plan for both possibilities.”
Here's the official announcement:
Public Education Campaign Launches to Win Marriage Equality in Colorado
With multiple pathways to secure the freedom to marry for committed couples in Colorado, new broad, statewide campaign launches to build support
DENVER – Today, in an effort to remove discrimination from Colorado’s constitution and win the freedom to marry, key state and national advocacy groups led a broad coalition of faith, business, civic and political leaders, and everyday Coloradans in launching Why Marriage Matters Colorado at a public rally in Denver on the west steps of the State Capitol.
The campaign centers on the core principle that all loving, committed couples should have the freedom to marry in the state that they call home. Today’s announcement comes at a time when the national landscape for marriage equality is shifting rapidly. Less than two weeks ago, nine couples filed a legal challenge to the state’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. At the same time, two federal cases – one based in Utah, the other in Oklahoma – will be heard next month by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado.
Why Marriage Matters Colorado will broaden the dialogue with Coloradans about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families and why it is consistent with the values of liberty and freedom. More information on this new statewide initiative – which is being spearheaded by leading statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, and Freedom to Marry – can be found here: www.whymarriagematterscolorado.org
“As a Republican small business owner, I believe the freedom to marry is consistent with conservative values of limited government and individual freedom,” said Maria Garcia Berry, a Colorado Republican and local business leader. “Freedom means freedom for everyone, and I’m proud to join this effort to remove discrimination from Colorado's constitution and move our state forward.”
Why Marriage Matters Colorado will equip supporters with tools and training to share personal stories about why marriage matters to them. The campaign will engage businesses, religious congregations, and civic leaders to help win the freedom to marry in Colorado and show that gay and lesbian couples are part of someone’s family and should be treated with respect.
“Marriage is one of the most special moments of a person’s life, when you stand in front of your friends and family and say this isn’t just the person I love – it’s the person I want to be responsible for and held accountable to,” said Jodi Martin, who lives with her partner Jenny in Boulder. “Marriage upholds everything we believe in – stability, integrity, responsibility and most importantly, family. Recognizing our family only makes our community and our state stronger.”
Business and faith leaders from across the state have already pledged their commitment to winning the freedom to marry for all Coloradans.
“Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would tell my daughter – and all of our children and grandchildren – that here in Colorado, we believe in treating others as we would want to be treated ourselves,” said Reverend Laura Rossbert, a United Methodist clergywoman and Denver resident. “Singling out one group of people for unfair treatment by not letting them marry the person they love is not how we do things in Colorado.”
For more information about the Why Marriage Matters Colorado campaign, including how to make a financial contribution, pledge to win the freedom to marry in Colorado, or share a story about why marriage matters, visit www.whymarriagematterscolorado.org.