Colorado Senate Advances Repeal of Anti-Gay Amendment


The Colorado Senate on Monday advanced to a second reading of a ballot resolution that would allow voters to repeal an unenforceable constitutional amendment banning local authorities from passing gay-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.

Reports the Denver Post:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, sponsored by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, both Denver Democrats, would put a measure on the November ballot asking voters to repeal prior amendments in the state constitution because they have been declared unconstitutional.


But probably the most controversial part of Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 is the portion that would repeal Amendment 2, which voters passed in 1992. The amendment prohibits the state and local governments from enacting laws that forbid discrimination against gays, including in housing and job hiring.

“This is, in my estimation, a housekeeping measure to remove some dead letters from the books,” Steadman said.

The resolution would also ask voters to repeal two campaign finance laws that have been deemed unconstitutional, including language in the constitution that limits campaign contributions from corporations and unions.

The gay rights amendment in question, Amendment 2, received voter approval in 1992 but was subsequently ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1996 in the case Romer v Evans.

In this landmark gay rights case the SCOTUS, in a 6-3 vote, upheld a lower court ruling that the law had been enacted through clear animus for the sole purpose of disenfranchising gay people.

Wrote Justice Kennedy for the majority:

To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint… [Amendment 2] is at once too narrow and too broad. It identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board. The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence.

The Supreme Court went as far as to say that the law didn’t even meet the lowest standard of judicial review, the rational basis test.

This decision would go on to be cited in a number of cases and would set the stage for the 2003 Lawrence v Texas ruling where the court rejected a previous standard from Bowers and found that private sexual conduct was protected by due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. This in turn helped render US sodomy bans unenforceable.

Romer v. Evans also may prove central to the Supreme Court ruling in the Proposition 8 gay marriage trial.

The Colorado Senate must still approve the resolution on a two-thirds vote before it can go to the House. The House will then have to approve the measure by the same margin.


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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to brainchildvn.


Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation. Children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anyone else. If children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help others not to tease or bully them.
It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers or a single mother or father as long as they are LOVED.
Sex Education should be taught on LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation, Pregnancy and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier. Children should be taught the JOYS and the CONSEQUENCES of having sex ( Pregnancy, STD, AIDS and others.) Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in. Geometry and Algebra can be learned in college if needed. I believe this is a solution. Stopping the damage before it starts so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principles where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these values, I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Well it's about time. I guess better late than never. But, we need to wake up people. Discrimination is wrong against the LGBT community. It was wrong 1,000 years ago and it's still wrong.

Melanie K.
Mel;anie K5 years ago

About time they came into the 21st cetury. Now, if we could just get therest of the regressive GOP/Faux News dominated states to join us.

Congratulations to all those progressives in Colrado who are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you don't win this time, the cracks have started to appear.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley5 years ago

Good news.

Anita Wischhusen
Anita Wisch5 years ago

One more step into the light......

Rachael S.
Rachael S5 years ago

This is not all that is going on in Colorado. Our legislature will be voting on a domestic partnership law in the upcoming weeks prior to the end of their term. It was voted on last year by a very narrow margin, and forecasters are saying that it may get passed this year. Contact your State Senator or Representative if you live in Colorado, and ask to to vote for equal rights. That's all that this is about.

Mark M.
Mark Modine5 years ago

How did it get in our Colorado constitution?

It's called "focus on the family," the right wing fascist so-called christians who took over local politics in Colorado Springs. That same year voters banned the spring bear hunt.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Thank you for the article...

John B.
John B5 years ago

A step foward, a small one but at least a stepin the right direction. Thanks for the aricle Steve.

Nicole Gorman
Nicole Gorman5 years ago

A step in the right direction. But how the hell did such a blatantly discriminatory law make it into the books in the first place as recently as 1992!!!