Monday, November 13, 2006
Colorado's Marriage Amendment - Same-Sex Equal Rights
"Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause..." Justice Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court writing for the majority in the Romer v. Evans case of (1996).
First, the numbers: (These are incomplete totals, as Denver is STILL counting!)
Amendment 43 provided (via amendment to the Colorado Constitution) that marriage is a union only between one woman and one man. (A Yes vote, for argument sake, is bad!)
Statewide --------------------------------City and County of Denver
Yes: 768,700 - 55.67% ----------------Yes: 57,306 - 37.64%
No: 612,155 - 44.33%------------------No: 94,936 - 62.36%
Referendum I provided that same-sex partners would be granted the same spousal rights as married couples. (A Yes vote, for argument sake, is Good!)
Statewide ----------------------------------City and County of Denver
Yes: 641,443 - 48.86%------------------Yes: 101,268 - 66.99%
No: 727,433 - 53.14%-------------------No: 49,901 - 33.01%
It is, perhaps, instructive to look at Colorado's Amendment 2 (1992) that would have prohibited: "all legislative, executive, or judicial action at any level of state or local government designed to protect the status of persons based on their 'homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships'."
Amendment 2 passed statewide by a margin of 53.4% to 46.6%. After going through the state courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1996, declared Amendment 2 unconstitutional...re: the quote from Justice Kennedy that began this post.
Looking at the numbers, can a conclusion be made that the mindset of the Colorado electorate with regard to "gay rights" has not changed since 1992? The numbers tend to indicate an affirmation of the same. However, a comprehensive look at "gay rights" attitudes in Colorado is provided here from Ciruli and Associates, a Denver-based political polling/thinktank entity.
It is, of course, evident that if one is gay or lesbian in Colorado, Denver (or Boulder) is probably the most friendly city to settle in or stay in, if you're already here. Northern and Northeastern Colorado--the good folks who have sent Marilyn Musgrave back to the U.S. House and just love the dickens out of Senator Wayne "Potted Plant" Allard--is probably not the best place to hold your gay pride parade. Colorado Springs (Southern and Southwestern Colorado, the home of James Dobson's "Focus on the Family," and the Reverend Ted Haggard's megachurch) are also probably not the best place to plan your next wine and cheese "white" party. (A "white" party is... Oh, well, my brothers and sisters know what I'm talking about.)
Suffice it to say, Amendment 2 from 1992 and Amendment 43 from 2006, are decidedly, uncompromisingly regressive and--dare I suggest--unconstitutional. Amendment 2 was, of course, already adjudicated by the Supremes. We'll wait and see what transpires with Amendment 43.
On final note. Mike Davis' (the male prostitute who outed Ted Haggard) stated intent to influence the Amendment 43 and Referendum I vote in Colorado was, in my humble opinion, grossly misguided. Human beings have this silly habit--beginning deep down in their gut and the consequential fluxing up into the gray matter--of forming what are called "stereotypes." I believe Mike Davis provided a surly, distasteful view of the underbelly of sexuality; not only gay, but straight, as well. The down home folks just get a little uncomfortable with that image, that reality and, yes, form that irrepressible stereotype. Sure, the down homers weren't really that uncomfortable with, for example, Jimmy Swaggert (or Ted Haggard) messing around with a prostitute, then bawling about it before his congregation, then continuing on, forgiven, no big deal. But, with those of us who ain't "normal..." Well, you get the point.