Freedom Writer - December 1994 [ref001] Colorado says no to bigots On October 11, 1994, th
Freedom Writer - December 1994
Colorado says no to bigots
On October 11, 1994, the Religious Right's agenda of depriving gay
people from discrimination in jobs and housing suffered a crushing
In a 6-1 ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court declared the state's anti-gay
rights measure, Amendment 2, unconstitutional. The court held that
Amendment 2 bars homosexuals from "having an effective voice in government
affairs" because they are prohibited from seeking legislation that
would protect them from discrimination.
The decision marked the first time that the highest court of any state
had found it unconstitutional to deny certain rights to homosexuals.
State Attorney General Gayle Norton said Colorado would appeal to
the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the decision had "troubling implications
for the right to vote." Norton appears to have forgotten that fundamental
rights are not subject to popular vote.
Exhibiting ignorance commonplace within the radical Religious Right,
Focus on the Family's _Pastor's_Weekly_Briefing_ wrote: "How an amendment
legally passed by voters two years ago, could be unconstitutional
was not explained."
Since Amendment 2 was passed in 1992, civil liberties groups and gay
rights groups around the nation called for a boycott of Colorado.
By the state's own estimate, it lost about $40 million in convention
and tourist business as a result.
Fortunately, Amendment 2 was never in force because a lower court
had issued an injunction against it. Unfortunately, other ballot initiatives
modeled on Colorado's law have been put forward in at least eight
states including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada,
Oregon and Washington. Of those states, initiatives were successful
in reaching the voters in Idaho and Oregon. The election results were
not in at press time.
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