AG Same-Sex Marriage Crackdown Coming?

TUESDAY UPDATE #3: Buzzfeed now reporting that the Attorney General will go to court tomorrow:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers’s office has told Boulder County officials that they plan to go to court Wednesday if Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall does not stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Suthers’s office responded Tuesday to county officials’ request for additional time to consider a proposal to allow the state’s supreme court to resolve the question of whether Hall can issue the marriage licenses. Colorado Solicitor General Dan Domenico wrote that the county could have until July 10 to respond to the proposal only if Hall stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples during that time.

“If she elects to continue after today, I am afraid we will be forced to take legal action,” Domenico wrote.

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TUESDAY UPDATE #2: Denver Post–Boulder County defies the Colorado Attorney General's office, continues to issue same-sex marriage licenses:

The Boulder County clerk continued issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Tuesday after a deadline imposed by the state's Attorney General…

Hall's office ignored the deadline and continued to issue licenses Tuesday afternoon.

"Same-sex licenses are legal and just licenses and we will continue to issue them," Hall said in a statement released after the deadline passed.

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TUESDAY UPDATE: Boulder Daily Camera, Clerk Hillary Hall and the Boulder County attorney plead for more time from the Attorney General's office as same-sex marriages continue:

With today's noon deadline looming, Boulder County officials say they want more time — 10 more days, in fact — to consider the state's proposal to let the Colorado Supreme Court decide whether County Clerk Hillary Hall has the legal authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples…

Hall, however, said in a Monday night statement that "because this is such an important issue we have requested additional time from the Attorney General's Office to review their proposal. We hope they give us the time requested to fully review their proposal with our legal counsel."

Boulder County Attorney Ben Pearlman wrote the solicitor general on Monday that Hall "recognizes important concerns you raise in your letter and appreciates your offer of compromise, but she has found one and a half days insufficient for both her office and mine to consider and formulate a response."

—–

UPDATE: Just as we were clicking "publish," the Denver Post's Jordan Steffen reports:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has given the Boulder County Clerk's office until noon on Tuesday to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses or face further action from his office.

If the office stops issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples before that deadline, the AG's office is offering to file a joint request to the Colorado Supreme Court, asking the court to decide if the clerk has legal authority to issue the licenses…

Suthers told The Denver Post his office has not decided what actions may be taken, but they will discuss possibilities if Hall does not stop issuing licenses before the deadline.

—–

Attorney General John Suthers and chief deputy AG Cynthia Coffman.

Attorney General John Suthers and chief deputy AG Cynthia Coffman.

As the Longmont Times-Call's Whitney Bryen reports, same-sex marriage licenses continue to be issued by Boulder County, acting in the wake of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling last week striking down the stat of Utah's gay marriage ban:

Late Wednesday afternoon, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall announced that she would issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling found Utah's gay marriage ban violated the Constitution.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has said any licenses issued by Boulder County to same-sex couples are not valid, but he has not moved to stop Hall from issuing them.

The Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reports that the Colorado Association of County Clerks is advising their members to wait for the automatic stay on the 10th Circuit's decision is lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court–either by upholding their decision or declining to take up the case:

[Mesa County Clerk Sheila] Reiner, who is president of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said several clerks in the state are discussing what to do with the issue, but the association is advising them that nothing has changed when it comes to the right of gays to marry.

“We are consulting our association attorneys and clerks are consulting their county attorneys to get a read on this and keep close watch,” she said. “The recommendation is to hold off.”

But in Boulder, Clerk Hillary Hall insists she is acting legally and issuing valid licenses.

(more…)

Republicans Run From “Dr. Chaps”

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog continues the national attention controversial Republican HD-15 nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt has received since winning Tuesday's primary election–attention that is starting to make Colorado Republicans rather nervous:

Klingenschmitt runs the Pray In Jesus Name Project, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group. He defeated Dave Williams in the Republican primary by about 300 votes – 52.5 percent of the vote – to earn the right to face unopposed Democrat Lois Fornander in the GOP-leaning district on Nov. 4.

Colorado voters who backed Klingenschmitt were either unaware of or support his views that gay people are possessed by demonic spirits and that Obamacare causes cancer, according to Right Wing Watch…

As his political career took hold this week, he told the Colorado Springs newspaper: “I’m very humbled by the support of the voters. This was their campaign.”

“The voters are rising up with me to defend the First Amendment, religious freedom, smaller government, lower taxes and the right to life,” Klingenschmitt told the newspaper. “And those are the values I will fight for in Denver.”

But as the Denver Post's Jesse Paul reports today, the values Klingenschmitt hopes to bring to Denver next January are, Denver Republican brass really wants you to understand this, not Republican values:

"Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and dishonest," said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. [Pols emphasis]

Klingenschmitt, a 46-year-old graduate of the Air Force Academy, says he is ready to be a "team player" and that he declines "to talk about his religious views as a candidate." But he said, if elected, he will continue his daily half-hour religious-based news show, broadcast on DirectTV and other, smaller outlets.

"If people want to know my religious views, they should come to church and hear them," Klingenschmitt said in an interview Thursday with The Denver Post. "But this campaign is not about my religious views."

Don't worry, Ryan Call, we're not going to try to convince our readers that mainstream Republicans believe, like "Dr. Chaps," that both Barack Obama and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis are "demons," or that only people who are "going to heaven" deserve equal rights from government. You might find a few more who agree with Klingenschmitt that "Obamacare causes cancer," but that's just because they watch FOX News.

It's simply enough to note, as SPLC and Right Wing Watch noted above, that enough voters either didn't know the kinds of things Klingenschmitt has said on his show, or they didn't care. Whichever the answer, Klingenschmitt has now secured the Republican nomination to run in a normally safe Republican district.

And whether Ryan Call likes it or not, nominated candidates, and especially elected legislators, do reflect on their party. It's something Call knows from experience, having dealt with Vicki Marble, Lori Saine, Jared Wright, and Justin Everett…you get the idea. It's easy to understand why Call is trying to disown Klingschmitt–and to pity his futile gesture.

Everybody’s Talking About “Dr. Chaps”

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

​A Republican Colorado House primary victory Tuesday is getting a lot of attention around the nation today, as Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt's reputation as a fringe right nutjob of the highest order gets reconciled with his entirely possible swearing in as a Colorado legislator next January. A brief roundup of Klingenschmitt coverage, starting with our friends at Right Wing Watch:

Last year, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt announced that he was running for a seat in Colorado's legislature and his long history as a disgraced former Navy Chaplain who brags about having successfully performed an exorcism on a lesbian soldier and who has stated again and again that demonic spirits are behind everything from abortion to gay marriage to ENDA to President Obama to Madonna won him the support of the vast majority of GOP caucus-goers earlier this year, setting up a primary showdown against another GOP hopeful which took place last night.

Klingenschmitt won that primary race by several hundred votes, becoming the official Republican nominee for House District 15 in the Colorado House of Representatives…

Just let that sink in: a man who thinks that "Obamacare causes cancer," that the Bible commands people to own guns in order to "defend themselves against left wing crazies," and that the FCC is allowing demonic spirits to "molest and visually rape your children" is now a Republican candidate for office.

Wonkette:

There is simply too much that is wonderful about this big win. This is a guy who worries that evil spirits from gay people are turning animals gay. A candidate who urges photographers to free themselves from the tyranny of having to take pictures of same-sex weddings by printing up business cards proclaiming that gays should be stoned to death. A gentleman who has detected signs of demonic possession in Disney kids’ shows.

(more…)

Boulder County To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

—–

UPDATE #2: State Sen. Jessie Ulibarri announces his intention to "get married tomorrow in Boulder."

Today, a court in Denver (the 10th Circuit) ruled that gay and lesbian people have a fundamental right to marry the person that they love. The decision was in reference to a case in Utah, but the Boulder County Clerk, Hillary Hall, is now offering marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who want to show their love and commitment with a marriage certificate.

Colorado's Republican Attorney General (who is essentially the lawyer for our state), has said that these marriages are not legal but he hasn't yet taken action to stop these marriages from being performed. Boulder County is ready to defend their decision to let committed, loving couples get married but they may be forced to stop if the Attorney General tries to block them in court.

With all of that said, Louis and I are planning to get married tomorrow (Thursday) in Boulder. This means that you won't get a gold embossed invite in the mail to join us, we won't have a fancy 10 course meal, or a mariachi band waiting to serenade you through a night of dancing.

Instead, we are taking an opportunity to bond our love with a marriage certificate, here in our home state, hopefully surrounded by the folks who love us. We apologize for the impersonal nature of this message, but we didn't have months of planning to figure this out. Our ability to get married is currently dependent on the legal system, and we don't want this opportunity to pass us by! We will post more details soon about when/where, so please accept this as your invitation to join us tomorrow to celebrate.

—–

UPDATE: Via the Denver Post's John Aguilar, Attorney General John Suthers looks to quash Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall's decision to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses:

Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, said any marriage licenses issued in Colorado will be invalid. Because the 10th Circuit decision was stayed, Colorado's ban against gay marriage remains in effect, she said.

"It's not binding on Utah let alone on Colorado," Tyler said. "Boulder has a history of activism on this issue."

—–

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.

Big news this afternoon from the Longmont Times-Call's John Fryar–Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall has announced that her office will immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling today striking down a same-sex marriage ban equivalent to Colorado's in our neighboring state of Utah:

Hall said in a news release that the action was in response to the 10th Circuit U.S. Appellate Court ruling earlier in the day that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Hall said the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Office would begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses, beginning Wednesday afternoon, at its Boulder office at 1750 33rd St., and in its Lafayette and Longmont offices starting Friday, June 27.

Because 10th Circuit decisions are binding in the State of Colorado, the precedent established by the case that was the subject of Wednesday's U.S. appellate court's ruling is applicable to the same-sex marriage ban contained in the Colorado Constitution, Hall's staff said in the news release.

(more…)

Texas Radio: Colorado Puts Anti-Gays “In Concentration Camps”

The gulag.

The gulag.

Media Matters for America reports, the case of Lakewood bakery owner Jack Phillips, who, while open to the public as a baker and meeting the legal test of a "public accommodation," just can't bring himself to bake a cake for a gay couple, is turning into a frightening business in the minds of right-wing talk radio hosts and the "family values" activists who love them:

Texas Values president Jonathan Saenz agreed with a right-wing radio host that gay activists are trying to put Christians in concentration camps, asserting that the gay rights movement wants "to put people in jail" if they disagree with marriage equality and "the homosexual lifestyle."

In a June 20 interview with Raging Elephants Radio, Saenz condemned a recent Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruling affirming that a Denver-area baker had violated the state's non-discrimination law by refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. Host Claver Kamau-Imani asked Saenz whether the ruling was tantamount to sending the baker to a "concentration camp." Saenz agreed, asserting that there's "no question" gay rights supporters ultimately aim to imprison opponents of LGBT equality…

The meaty stuff transcribed:

KANAU-IMANI: Alright, let's get back to Colorado…so the homosexual couple, whether it's man and man, woman and woman, whatever, they go to this specially created commission to deal with this, file a complaint against the business, and so the commission says 'No, you're gonna make this cake, plus, you're going to go to concentration camp,' essentially. Is that what you're telling us, Jonathan?

SAENZ: That's right, that's right. [Pols emphasis]

Now first of all, the state Civil Rights Commission merely upheld a judge's ruling against Phillips from last year. The judge imposed no fines against Phillips, simply ordering him to, you know, stop discriminating. Reportedly, Phillips must submit quarterly statements affirming that he is no longer discriminating in his business, and make sure his employee policies are clear discrimination isn't legal. But just so everybody reading this understands, the potential penalty for discriminating against gay people in your Colorado place of business does not now and never did include "concentration camps."

To be honest, the worst part may be having to explain this at all. If you have to actually persuade someone that no, the state of Colorado is not putting anti-gay discriminators in camps, there's a good chance that individual isn't worth the effort.

In honor of Pride, BigMedia.org fights anti-gay talk-radio hosts with kisses like yours!

The group of people most attacked on talk radio is, of course, the Muslims. Next comes gays and Hispanics, followed by women. Proof? You have to trust my judgment, based on many happy years of listening.

Some conservative shows are respectful of all people, because, contrary to popular belief among progressives, not all conservative radio shows are the same.

But some get ugly, as they did when Michael Sam was drafted into the NFL.

In honor of Pride, BigMedia.org discovered how much NFL draftees like to kiss! Like Michael Sam does! And it’s not just the athletes who do the kissing at sporting events.

In the video below, set to obnoxious comments by KNUS 710-AM talker Bill Rogan and guest host Krista Kafer, see else is kissing each other. It might be YOU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG03uiC3ryI

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Appears Headed For Dustbin of History

John Suthers, Don Quick.

John Suthers, Don Quick.

​​As the Denver Post's Jordan Steffen reported from Adams County Court in Brighton yesterday:

The Colorado attorney general's office defended the state's ban on gay marriage on Monday, arguing that 15 state and federal judges who have struck down similar measures in other states were wrong.

But the judge hearing the case mocked the state's argument that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage protects the "nature of marriage" and the ability to produce children…

"They all got it wrong?" Crabtree asked. "What am I supposed to do then when presented with this? Just punt?"

With same-sex marriage bans being ruled unconstitutional across the nation in rapid succession, Republican Colorado Attorney General John Suthers' stubborn insistence on defending Amendment 43, the same-sex marriage ban in the Colorado constitution, is becoming much harder to defend politically. The wisdom of Democratic AG candidate Don Quick in calling out Suthers early and loudly for continuing to defend Amendment 43 is becoming more apparent:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has faced criticism for his decision to defend the ban. Attorneys general have declined to defend against similar lawsuits in several other states.

That criticism of Suthers naturally extends to his chief deputy AG Cynthia Coffman, who is the Republican nominee to succeed him. Every day the AG's office continues what is in all probability a futile effort to defend Colorado's same-sex marriage ban, they surrender moral and political high ground to Cynthia Coffman's Democratic opponent. The only real division on the issue of marriage equality today is within the Republican Party.

Bottom line: the days of remaining on the wrong side of this issue as a viable candidate for office–especially statewide office in Colorado–are numbered.

“Check your man card,” if you’d shower with Michael Sam, says CO Springs radio host

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With apologies to the film Steel Magnolias, starring Shirley MacClaine and Olympia Dukakis, here's a rant by a Colorado Springs talk-radio host against Michael Sam, the first openly gay man to (hopefully) be drafted into the National Football League.

The audio of the rant, by KVOR's Richard Randall, is overlaid on a segment of the 1989 movie.

WARNING: This video clip shows bare asses in a locker room, which are a big problem for Randall.

Quinnipiac: Voters Back Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado by 2-1 Margin

Quinnipiac University released another new batch of poll results from Colorado today, outlining how voters in our state feel about legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage.

According to Quinnipiac, voters strongly believe that legalizing marijuana has been good for Colorado (52-38 percent). While Quinnipiac focuses its press release today on the marijuana questions, we were much more interested to see the results of a query about same-sex marriage:

By a 61 – 33 percent margin, Colorado voters support allowing same-sex couples to get married in the state. [Pols emphasis] Support is 55 – 38 percent among men and 66 – 28 percent among women, 85 – 12 percent among Democrats and 63 – 30 percent among independent voters. Republicans are opposed 58 – 34 percent.

Support is 81 – 12 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old, 65 – 30 percent among voters 30 to 49 years old and 54 – 38 percent among voters 50 to 64 years old. Among voters over 65, 44 percent support same-sex marriage and 48 percent are opposed.

For all practical political purposes, the issue of same-sex marriage would appear to be pretty well settled as far as Colorado voters are concerned. Of particular note are the numbers from voters 18 to 29 years old, of whom a whopping 81 percent back same-sex marriage in our state.

ICYMI: Another Massive Friday News Dump For Cory Gardner

Personhood was just the beginning.

Personhood was just the beginning.

Just over one month ago, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner shocked Colorado politics by abruptly reversing himself on his longstanding and public support for the "Personhood" abortion bans, which were rejected overwhelmingly by voters in 2008 and 2010. Gardner attempted to pull this reversal off with a minimum of press coverage though a time-honored strategy known as the "Friday News Dump"–releasing uncomfortable or controversial news late on a Friday in hopes that no one is paying attention.

As the subsequent month of damaging press coverage has demonstrated, Friday News Dumps aren't very effective for minimizing unwanted coverage in the 24/7 news cycle we live in today.

But folks, if you're Cory Gardner, with a career built on taking a hard conservative line on every issue from a safe Republican seat, Friday News Dumps are just about the only chance there is to ditch positions that could disqualify you in a statewide general election. The incrementally fewer eyeballs looking at the news late on a Friday, for the purposes of doing something sure to result in blowback, are worth exploiting.

And yesterday evening, in an interview with CBS4's Shaun Boyd, Gardner kicked the flip-flopping into overdrive:

On abortion, Gardner has voted for bills with and without exceptions for rape and incest. He also sponsored the “Life Begins At Conception Act” and once supported Personhood in Colorado, something he no longer supports.

“In the State of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support,” said Gardner. [Pols emphasis] “I came to that opinion because of a number of issues including the fact that it would ban common forms of contraception.”

Note Gardner's very careful choice of words here, "in the State of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support." The "In Colorado" qualfiier is extremely important, since Gardner is still today a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act–written in similarly vague and broad language to the Personhood abortion bans in Colorado, with the same verbiage that could outlaw common forms of birth control. This is the first time we've seen Gardner attempt to reconcile his flip-flop on Personhood with his continuing sponsorship of similar legislation at the federal level–and the distinction makes no sense.

But that's the flip-flop you know. Here's this Friday's News Dump:

His position on gay rights has evolved like many on both sides of the aisle. Seven years ago in the state House he opposed a bill allowing gay couples to adopt and also voted against adding sexual orientation to state anti-discrimination laws.

“If a family wants to have children they should have children,” said Gardner.

When asked if that was regardless of sexual orientation, Gardner replied, “I think they should have children.” [Pols emphasis]

We invite readers to check us on this, but we can't find any record of Gardner softening on the issue of gay rights in the least before this interview. Gardner didn't merely vote against single-parent adoption as a state legislator, he actually campaigned for Congress in 2010 promising the Christian Family Association that he would oppose gay adoption and other "homosexual special rights." Gardner's answer on the related issue of businesses denying services to gays and lesbians is also much softer, paying lip service to "religious freedom" but now saying "we have to…make sure we’re not allowing that to turn into some kind of hidden discrimination." The fact is, this is at least as big a reversal as Gardner's flip-flop on Personhood. As Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's successor in Congress, the implications of this flip-flop are potentially quite serious for Gardner's relationship with the Christian right.

And if that's not enough for you, check out the New Cory Gardner® on immigration!

On immigration, Gardner opposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and amnesty.

“The DREAM Act alone isn’t going to solve our immigration challenges. That’s why we have to look at border security, a guest worker program, E-verify and fixes to visas,” said Gardner. “What to do with people without documentation. There are between 11 and 12 million people here without documentation.”

When asked if they should be sent back to where ever they came from, Gardner replied, “I don’t think you can do that. I don’t think that’s what will happen or should happen.” [Pols emphasis]

Based on this interview, Gardner has evolved from blanket opposition to the DREAM Act to the milder view that "the DREAM Act alone isn’t going to solve our immigration challenges"–which could be read to mean the DREAM Act is part of a solution! And correct us if we're wrong, but if Gardner says we can't send undocumented immigrants back to wherever they came from, that indeed he doesn't "think that's what will happen or should happen"–hell, Gardner's just come out in favor of "amnesty," hasn't he? As for a "guest worker program," which Gardner apparently supports today, he voted against it in 2008 as a state legislator. We're given no explanation for Gardner's change of heart here either.

Perhaps the only issue on which Gardner is consistent in this truly remarkable interview is–you guessed it–Obamacare. We've discussed at length how Republicans are on the losing side of that debate, especially now that the scare tactics used for years against health care reform are being widely discredited. But if we're awarding points for consistency anywhere, there you go.

Bottom line: it's nothing short of stunning to see all of these newsworthy developments packed into a single local television interview, but it occurs to us that was most likely Gardner's very deliberate objective. Having already been painted as a flip-flopper for the last month over Personhood, it looks like Gardner is going all the way–flip-flopping on everything he can, as quickly and early in the race as possible.

Folks, it's not going to work. In fact, we increasingly foresee disaster, as Gardner richly earns the Mitt Romney Etch-a-Sketch prize and begins to repel voters of all stripes. Voters, regardless of their own views on the issues, learn from flip-flops like these that they can't trust Cory Gardner either way.

And that's the worst possible place to be as a candidate.

Talk-show host and Cynthia Coffman wrong that AG must defend gay-marriage ban

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

KVOR guest host Jimmy Bensberg talked last week with Cynthia Coffman, who's running for Colorado Attorney General.

CYNTHIA COFFMAN: Taking a page from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s playbook, [Democratic AG candidate Don] Quick held a press conference on the steps of state courts building and called on John Suthers to drop his defense of the definition of marriage –

BENSBERG: Ugh!

COFFMAN: –that’s in the Constitution of Colorado. You know the voters, a number of years back, amended the Constitution and said we want marriage to be the traditional definition of being between a man and a woman. That’s what the voters approved, and Don Quick says he doesn’t agree with that. He doesn’t believe that that is constitutional, even though the Supreme Court of the United States hasn’t said that. And so presumptively, he thinks that the Attorney General should not defend that provision of the Constitution. And you know, that kind of picking and choosing as an Attorney General, what parts of the Constitution you defend, I can’t imagine a better thing to criticize my opponent about, than starting there.

Left out of this loving, tolerant, and legally ignorant conversation is the fact that Suthers' proactive defense of the federal "Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)," which was filed in the name of protecting Colorado's gay-marriage ban, was actually an attack on gay couples who wanted to be buried together in military cemeteries or to get spousal benefits under Medicaid, etc. Suthers' DOMA action looked like a wrong legal tactic, from the perpective of protecting Colorado's Constitutional amendment.

But more broadly, and to the heart of the matter, you want an Attorney General who will make public-minded decisions about what makes constitutional sense, regardless of the politics involved.

In the case of defending Colorado's anti-gay-marriage amendment, Suthers could have decided, as six other state Attorneys General did, that it's a wrong legal move. Despite what Cynthia Coffman says, nothing forces Suthers to take action.

(more…)

Those Wacky GOP Candidates – Where Are They Now?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado's Republican party has put up some rather entertaining candidates for the state legislature this year, and I just had to post some updates on them.

Nate Marshall posted an official withdrawal from the HD23 race on April 9, after being exposed as an active white supremacist. However, his campaign committee is still active. Is he hoping the outrage will die down? Marshall's latest post on his Facebook page links to an article positing that liberals are "purging Christians". Huh?

Right now, it appears that  Max Tyler won't have an opponent in HD23, as the committee of the other GOP candidate, Christopher Hadsall, is inactive.

 

(more…)

Another Big, Empty “Change of Heart” From New Coffman®

UPDATE: The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee:

Democrats assailed Coffman, a military veteran who serves on the House Armed Services committee, for his previous votes in opposition of repealing the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that barred gays from serving openly in the military. Indeed, Coffman is against same-sex marriage.

“In his time in Washington, Mike Coffman has clearly learned the art of manipulation. While he’s eager to take credit, he fails to back up his talk with action. Despite his claim to support employment non-discrimination legislation, Congressman Coffman is hardly a champion for gay and lesbian rights. Not only does he oppose marriage equality but he voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” said Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio.

Palacio added that it’s “yet another of Coffman’s attempts to wipe away his record of extremism and hide from Colorado’s voters.”

—–

endangeredcoffman

A press release a short while ago from leading LGBT advocacy group One Colorado announces that vulnerable GOP Rep. Mike Coffman is joining Democrats in support of a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), to protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination:

Today, Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In response to this announcement, Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado – the leading statewide advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Coloradans and their families – released the following statement:

“Protecting against discrimination in the workplace isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue – it’s common sense. Congressman Coffman’s announcement today in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act brings his views in alignment with a strong majority of Americans who believe that workers should be judged on their job performance alone, and nothing else. As a non-partisan organization, we welcome Congressman Coffman’s announcement and commend support for equality across the ideological spectrum. It’s time for Congress to move forward and pass ENDA now, to extend the same basic workplace protections we’ve already passed here in Colorado to all LGBT Americans.”

Rep. Coffman's record on rights for LGBT citizens, like immigration, abortion, and other issues he has recently fled to the center on, is very clear–and dismal from the point of view of any LGBT rights supporter. In 2011, Coffman joined with Rep. Michele Bachmann and other social-issue Republicans to call for a ban on military facilities being used for gay marriages. Coffman voted against ending the military's reviled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and supported the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act. Coffman even served as Texas Gov. Rick Perry's state campaign chair while Perry ran widely criticized ads disparaging the fact that "gays can serve openly in the military."

So what gives? For one thing, says Politico, the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign is courting House Republicans in an attempt to line up support for that body possibly taking up ENDA. But the chances of that remain very, very remote according to everyone we've talked to, most likely ending up as a message opportunity about support growing for the legislation–which we expect will continue to grow, even in the probable event that John Boehner's House never takes up ENDA at all this election year.

That Coffman is one of the first Republicans coming out in support of ENDA is no surprise, and it highlights another step in his political evolution. The Colorado Republican has reversed positions on immigration and abortion in recent months as he tries to fend off an challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff in Colorado’s competitive sixth district.

“I see this legislation as the workplace equivalent of the Golden Rule — do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,” Coffman said in a statement to POLITICO. “In the workplace, in 2014, we should judge employees the way we would want to be judged — based on our qualifications, our contributions and by our character, period.”

For Coffman, much like immigration, ENDA becomes another opportunity for reinvention without consequence–since ENDA is very unlikely to come up for a vote in the House, Coffman can say whatever he wants. Short of demanding House leadership bring the bill up for a vote, Coffman will never have to put his record where his mouth is, all the while reaping the positive press from his untested "change of heart."

Does this mean Democrats should be angry with gay rights activists for giving Coffman an opening to meaninglessly pander? Certainly not–any more than Dems should be with immigration rights supporters about Coffman's pandering to them. If your goal is issue progress, you welcome support wherever you can get it.

But it needs to be tempered by reality–and Coffman's anti-gay record raises more questions than this answers.

Marriage Equality: Dollars and Sense

gay-ca-wedding

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports today:

Extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples in Colorado would generate $50 million in spending to the state economy and $3.7 million in state and local tax revenue, according to a study released Thursday.

The study from the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the UCLA School of Law, looked at 2010 U.S. Census data on the number of gay and lesbian couples living in Colorado and estimates that 50 percent – roughly 6,200 couples – would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

As a result, the state’s wedding business would see an increase by $40 million, and an increase of roughly $10 million in tourism expenditures made by out-of-town guests over the same period.

Total state and local tax revenue would rise by $3.7 million, including an estimated $2.3 million in local sales taxes.

More in a press release from One Colorado:

“We’ve already known that marriage would give committed couples here in Colorado the opportunity to make a lifetime promise to each other and protect their families the same way everyone else does,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy group for LGBT Coloradans and their families. “Now we know that marriage equality would also benefit our economy and contribute to the state’s bottom line.”

Anybody who's ever had to pay for their own or a child's wedding, or been privy to the accounting of costs for any decent ceremony, can tell you that more weddings directly translate into lots more money flowing into the hands of local business–and tax revenue from those businesses to the public sector. Major life developments like weddings remain one of the situations where Americans set aside frugality and really open their wallets, which is exactly the kind of exuberant consumption a healthy economy thrives on.

Sounds like a good old-fashioned capitalism success story to us.

Civil rights and community leaders announce their support for the freedom to marry

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Yesterday, several key Colorado civil rights and community leaders announced their support of the freedom to marry for all families in our state.

These leaders from across Colorado are joining together to move marriage forward, stating their commitment to equality for all compels them to publicly advocate for marriage equality.

They are standing on the right side of history. They know it’s a matter of when – not if – marriage equality will be achieved in the Centennial State.

Former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Terrance Carroll, spoke to why he supports the freedom to marry:

Here in Colorado, we continue to fight for full equality for all people. Gay and lesbian Coloradans are part of our families and our community – they are our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. Many more are our friends, neighbors and co-workers. Marriage gives committed couples the tools and security to build a life together and protect their families, and no one should be denied that fundamental freedom.

Denver Public School Board member Rosemary Rodriguez also spoke on behalf of valuing all families in our state:

Through my work on the Denver Public School Board, I have met many same-sex couples and their families who are impacted every day by their inability to marry in our state. Parents have expressed the need to protect their children – and without marriage, they do not have access to these protections. It is my duty as a community leader to advocate for these families.

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