Colorado Republicans Fight For Civil Unions

CivilunionsRepublican leaders in Colorado have formed a group called Coloradans for Freedom to fight for civil unions there.

"The point is not to create conflict within the Republican Party," one of the organizers, local attorney Mario Nicolais, told the Denver Post. "It is to provide resources to people interested in the conservative argument for civil unions."

Civil unions passed the state's Senate last year, but were squashed by a House panel, setting the stage for another legislative fight for the upcoming session. As lawmakers return to work, Coloradans for Freedom will hold a cocktail party headlines by former State Rep. Rob Witwer, a high-profile advocate for civil unions who frames his arguments as a matter of "human freedom."

Discussing the new organization, Witwer used distinctly "choice" oriented language. "In my mind, there's nothing inconsistent with being a Republican and supporting the rights of gay people to live as they choose," he said. "I would like gay people who believe in limited government and fiscal responsibility to know they still have a home in the Republican Party."

Some Democrats are also supporting the fight. Colorado House Minority leader Mark Ferrandino remarked, "I'm glad to see a group of leaders on the right coming out and saying, 'If we are for limited government, we should be for civil unions.'"

"It can't do anything but help the chances of a civil unions bill passing this year."

While it's nice to see Republicans flexing their muscle for equality, this still misses the mark a bit. Civil unions, we know, are separate and unequal from marriage rights, and it would be far more uplifting — for me, at least — to see GOP, Democrats and others join forces to overturn the 2006 law that banned same-sex marriage in Colorado. That would be a far more impressive and monumental effort, one more in line with "freedom" than civil unions.


  1. Diane says

    I much prefer marriage to civil unions, but if this is what it takes for Repub’s to wander into the light..I’ll take it. We have to start the process somewhere.

  2. Steve says

    You have to be realistic. Yes, marriage equality would be nice, but it’s not going to happen in a state like Colorado anytime soon. CUs would be a huge deal there

  3. classychazy says

    Love that sign!!! Wish someone would bring it to me I have more then one worthless person down at the courthouse I would wave it in front off. WTG Colorado.

  4. jamal49 says

    “…the conservative argument for civil unions”…

    The only good conservative is a dead conservative. Period.

  5. Debbie says

    Idiot, the “law” banning marriage is actually a constitutional amendment. It can only be overturned at the ballot box and currently there is no effort underway to do that. The plan is to pass civil unions and have that serve as a bridge to eventually repealing the marriage amendment. The only thing under consideration in the legislature is civil unions and that is why these Republicans are supporting civil unions specifically.

    Get your facts straight.

  6. says

    I’ve always believed that we Nordic folks did it right: We all started Registered Partnerships which provided a limited set of protections for gay couples, followed by amending the Registered Partnership law so that it was equal to Marriage law, and finally, in Iceland, Sweden and Norway, we then merged the two. (Denmark and Finland have yet to get on that boat). This gave people who were still uncomfortable with the basic idea of two people of the same sex being together to adjust. I think this sort „easing“ into it is going to be much more successful than this constant push for FULL EQUALITY NOW because it turns the conservatives off immediately, finally ending in no equality for anyone ever. Take what you can get to start with, and fight slowly, but surely.

  7. Tygz says

    Recent polls show Colorado does support civil unions, by a narrow margin; considering CO is a largely conservative state with a few liberal cities, it’s a turn for the better.If the issue was introduced to the ballet box and reflected polls, civil unions may be possible with the continued Republican support.

  8. Benjamin Waters says

    Point of clarification: Colorado’s marriage ban is in our constitution. It will take a referred measure from the state legislature or 120,000 signatures AND a statewide campaign AND a vote of the people to overturn. Since it isn’t a matter related to taxation, it can also only be put on the ballot during an even-numbered year. We owe the committed GLBT couples–who’s shoulders my generation stands upon–every measure of legal protection right now, while marriage winds its way through our court system. Waiting for marriage is not an option for some of them.

    Full disclosure: I will be attending this event and fully support their efforts. Let’s not focus this fight on the marriage vs. civil unions argument. It distracts us from the larger conversation and the slow, steady evolution of our rights.

  9. JohnAGJ says

    Good for them and I’m glad to see this. Imagine civil unions in the state where Focus on the Family has its headquarters? Love it!