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Same sex civil unions & same-sex marriages (SSM) in Colorado

Part 3: 2013: Additional religious concerns about
civil unions. Pro-civil union Republicans meet.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Additional concerns by local pastor and Roman Catholics:

  • 2013-JAN-07: Colorado Pastor Dave Buehner delivered a talk on his "Generations Radio" show, two days before the Legislature opened. The talk may have been inspired by the civil unions bill. According to the Human Rights Campaign's blog he was quoted as saying:

    "... if you tell your daughter, your beautiful daughter, ‘Hey, don’t put your hand on the hot stove.’ She can look at that and say, ‘My dad’s a tyrant, he won’t give me liberty to put my hand on the hot stove.’ The fact of the matter is if she puts her hand on the hot stove, bad things will happen. God’s law is like that. God’s law will tell us that if we do things that are bad, bad things will happen. If we put our hands on the stove, we’ll get burned. If we embrace homosexuality, we’ll destroy society, we’ll destroy lives, we’ll destroy families, we’ll destroy everything. It’s not just that God just hates homosexuals, there’s a reason why he hates it. It’s the same reason you would hate your daughter putting her hand on a hot stove." 1

Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, maintains an archive of other attacks by Dave Buehner. He allegedly targeted LGBs, gay parents, civil unions, feminists, unmarried working women, public schools, liberal Presbyterians, etc. He allegedly described the Obama administrations as "a bunch of softy-wofty, weeny socialists," and described feminists as "family-destroying whores." 2

  • 2013-JAN-25: A Protect and Support Marriage Rally of Catholics was held at the state capitol. About 200 people attended. At the rally:

    • Kate Sweeney, assistant director of Endow, a Catholic women’s group in Colorado, said:

      "We stand up today because we see that the real goal of civil union legislation is social endorsement of same-sex unions, and soon enough, the redefinition of marriage. ... Those with same-sex attraction have the right to live as they choose. But they do not have the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us."

    • Msgr. Thomas Fryar, representing the Archdiocese of Denver, warned about the bill's threat to religious freedom. He said:

      "We have been involved in the state of Colorado for over 80 years in helping to take care of the children of our community and make sure they are placed in adoption and foster care in good, healthy, wholesome settings, for the good of our society.

      And that’s not right. If this law passes, there is going to be great persecution of the faithful. We cannot allow that." 3

    • State Senator Ed Jones (R) represents Colorado Springs, the home of the fundamentalist parachurch group Focus on the Family and dozens of other evangelical groups. He said that it is wrong to compare the struggle for gay equality with the civil rights struggle by African Americans in the 20th century. He produced a picture of House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D) and his partner Greg Wertsch. Jones referred to Wertsch as "his wife Eric. This is so wrong."

      After the rally, Mario Nicholais, one of the founders of Coloradans for Freedom -- a pro-gay equality group of Republicans -- said:

      "Ed Jones apparently didn’t get Gov. Bobby Jindal’s message — the Republican Party has to stop being the ‘party of stupid,’ and personally insulting the family members of the speaker of the House qualifies as extremely stupid." 5

      Michael Carr, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for one of the Senate seats in Denver, said:

      "People that disagree with gay equality have a place in the national debate, but attacking people personally is not going to accomplish their goal." 5

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2013-FEB-01: A group of Republicans favoring civil unions wants to change the Republican party's platform:

Coloradans for Freedom is a conservative Republican group that promotes both civil unions and Republican majorities in the Legislature. They see civil unions as the path to provide equal rights for all citizens of Colorado. They emphasize that civil rights for all are a fundamental conservative principle. Writing in 2012-MAY, the second year that a civil union bill had been introduced and failed, they wrote on their web site:

"Thankfully, those two goals -- a Republican majority and a pro-equality majority -- no longer seem mutually exclusive. Due to the change in debate around civil unions, it is more likely than ever that a conservative Republican majority would pass civil union legislation, especially as more officeholders and candidates become persuaded by our arguments every day.

The civil rights titan Medger Evers said, 'You can kill a bill, but you cannot kill an idea.' And in conservative circles, the ideas supporting civil unions continue to live on and grow." 4

Their group met on FEB-01 to toast the new civil unions bill Senate Bill 11 and the near certainty that it will become law. Michael Carr, who is an openly gay Republican an unsuccessful candidate for one of the Denver Senate seats. However, there is not much time for Republican delegates and senators to show their support, switch their position, and vote for civil unions. He said:

"That’s a fear of a lot of us who really support this issue. We are afraid that our party can be stigmatized for years to come if they vote on the wrong side of this legislation. Our challenge right now is not only to pass the bill but to make sure we’re on the right side of history."

"We have to figure out ways to win statewide races; we have to figure out ways to bring people into the party. ... [Civil unions are] a non-issue for most people who are up-and-comers in this party." 5

He noted that most people under 40 years-of-age don't understand why civil unions are even a question.

Attorney Mario Nicolais is one of the founders of Coloradans for Freedom. He said:

"The policies of our state are [lagging] behind some of these businesses, and that’s a problem for them. It makes them uncompetitive. This is the way businesses act — we don’t get involved in our employees’ personal lives, but we want to be sure they’re happy employees.

Equal rights is a powerful Republican principle, and I do hope we will see more Republicans who will be fighting for that principle. It’s not a question of changing principles. It’s a question of getting back to principles that empower individuals and empower communities." 5

Sen. Ellen Roberts, (R) is the only current member of the Senate who has voted in favor of past civil union bills. She said:

"What’s really important for us as Republicans is to send the message out that this is not at all about winning — though that could be the end result, as we appear to be coming into more mainstream thought — but what this is about is property rights, it’s about family values, and it’s about individual freedom and liberty.

I am concerned about things like religious liberty. I am satisfied with the Senate version. Catholic Charities didn’t like it last year, they’re not going to like it this year, they’re not going to like it 10 years from now, so that’s not a big concern. But I do want to be respectful of people of all types and all thought processes.

As a Republican, I believe in limited government. I’ve never understood how we’ve ended up in the place that we’ve been on these issues." 5

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Pastor: 'If we embrace homosexuality, we'll destroy society," Right Wing Watch, 2013-JAN-07, at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/
  2. "Dave Buehner," Right Wing Watch, 2013-JAN-31, at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/
  3. Kevin Jones, "Rally Against Colo. Civil Unions Bill Warns of ‘Great Persecution’," National Catholic Register, 2013-JAN-28, at: http://www.ncregister.com/
  4. Mario Nicolais, "Colorado conservatives will fight to pass civil unions," Coloradans for Freedom, 2012-MAY-18, at: http://www.coloradansforfreedom.com/
  5. Earest Luning, "Pro-civil unions Republicans want to rebrand party image," The Colorado Statesman, 2013-FEB-01, at: http://www.coloradostatesman.com/

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Copyright 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2013-FEB-04
Latest update: 2013-FEB-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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