COLORADO ANTI-GAY LAW IS DEAD By Shelley Ettinger A Colorado judge voided an anti-gay amen

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COLORADO ANTI-GAY LAW IS DEAD By Shelley Ettinger A Colorado judge voided an anti-gay amendment to the state constitution Dec. 14. It was the third court ruling to find the law, passed as a ballot initiative in November 1992, unconstitutional. Colorado's attorney general will appeal the decision. But an earlier state supreme court procedural ruling against the law indicates the appeal is likely to fail. So the ban on lesbian and gay rights in Colorado is dead. Local anti-discrimination laws in Denver, Boulder and Aspen remain in effect. The national boycott of Colorado, which reportedly cost businesses millions of dollars and created considerable pressure to overturn the law, has been called off. Legal experts hailed Judge Jeffrey Bayless's ruling as an important civil-rights victory--especially since it holds that the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection applies to gay people. Last month an Ohio judge issued an injunction blocking a similar measure from taking effect in Cincinnati. And several courts have ruled against the ban on gays in the military in recent months. Together, these cases are a setback for the right wing. Gay activists say it is no coincidence that they come just months after a million people marched on Washington to demand full rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. The rulings show how the living struggle, with people mobilized into action in the streets, can win victories from the government. But activists also caution that the struggle, even in Colorado, is by no means over. Vicious anti-gay campaigns, there and in at least a dozen other states, continue. "The reactionaries have suffered a defeat. But they are pressing on. The movement to win and defend lesbian and gay rights must do the same," Trudy Rudnick, a lesbian activist and president of Federation of Teachers Local 3882 at New York University, told Workers World. FIGHT THE RIGHT When Colorado's anti-gay ballot measure passed last November, a similar proposition was defeated in Oregon. Civil-rights groups, unions, progressive churches and community organizations joined the gay community to wage a successful political struggle. But the right wing didn't give up. The battle is still on in Oregon. It's being fought city by city, throughout the state. It's also on in Missouri, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Texas, Michigan, Washington and elsewhere. The particulars--the wording of a proposed anti-gay law, the name of the right-wing group-- vary a bit by locale. But the essence is identical. Religious fundamentalists and reactionary ideologues, pumped up by hefty financial contributions from anonymous business owners, run slick campaigns. The goal is to convince straight voters that equal rights for lesbians and gays somehow threaten their rights, their families, their homes and jobs. The right wing seeks to put the gay movement on the defensive. In response, coalitions are reaching out to build broad support for gay rights. Trade unionists build solidarity between gay and straight workers. Civil-rights leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Ben Chavis of the NAACP stand with the gay community. "Unity is the key to winning this fight," Rudnick says. "The Colorado ruling shows that we have the power to drive back the right wing." -30- (Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 West 17 St., New York, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww@blythe.org.) + OPEN HOUSE! NY TRANSFER NEWS COLLECTIVE FREE ACCESS! + + December'93 e-mail: nyt@blythe.org December'93 + + 212-675-9690 info: info@blythe.org 212-675-9663 +

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