Amendment 2 and Colorado
By now everyone in here knows my views on civil rights for gays. In
spite of that I am beginning to think the Colorado boycott over
Amendment 2 and all of the furor is a media driven non-event on
the verge of losing touch with reality. I saw a column in this
morning's paper by a local columnist who writes weekly think
pieces, I would like to share in part.
As everyone knows by now, the Constitutional Amendment 2 is tied up
in court. A district judge's ruling has been appealed to the state
supreme court. The column starts by noting that a long list of
organizations have weighed in with friend of the court briefs.
"Some of the briefs read as though the court were sitting as a super
legislature..."The National Education Association (NEA), for example
makes the statement "In order to meet the needs of gay and lesbian
students must, at the very least, create an environment in which these
students can feel emotionally and physically secure. ...it is essential
that school districts be able to prohibit discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation."
The columnist notes that the NEA seems to be saying if Amendment 2 is
in effect the schools "wouldn't be able to create a place where gay
and lesbian students would feel physically safe. Why not? Is there
some law preventing a school administration requiring its students
to conform to standards of civil behavior? What is the NEA talking
about?...and what in heaven's name is the NEA doing in those scores
of other states where schoold districts aren't able to prohibit
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?" The columnist
goes on to note that the NEA brief seems to be saying that there must
be "a national policy creating exactly the kind of special protected
status Amendment 2 prevents in Colorado. This goal is beyond the power
of the poor Colorado Supreme Court."
There are, according to the columnist, three points which emerge from
the briefs worth noting.
1) Both sides expect the Supreme Court to almost certainly depart from
the outlines of the District Court decision. (The District Judge held
that the plaintiffs, those seeking to overturn Amendment 2, had a
fundamental right of homosexuals to not have the state give effect
to private bias and prejudice." In the plaintiffs brief the emphasis
is on whether or not Amendment 2 adds special burdens to the political
participation of gays and lesbians.
2) There is a great deal of controversy amongst the plaintiffs and
the friends of the court briefs on whether homosexuality is immutable.
3) What seems to be the key issue is the question of whether or not the
Amendment2 unconstitutionally burdens the political participation of
homosexuals and bi-sexuals. The plaintiffs argue in their brief...
"Before Amendment 2's enactment these groups could at least attempt
to influence legislation and regulation at the state and local level."
Finally it should be noted that this heavy legal artillery is being
trained on one narrow issue whether or not the District Court's
injunction blacking Amendment 2 should over turned. That injunction
and the grounds on which it was based is the only thing the court
The columnist ends up by saying that this case is only a preliminary
bout. "Unless the matter of protected status for homosexuals is
resolved by congressional action, this case, or another one like it
will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Then and only then will there be
what might be called a final decision."
Oral arguments before the State Supreme Court are a week from Mon
(May 24). The court has promised an expedition ruling. I will keep