In a stunning move of epic (and totally misdirected) proportions, one Colorado duo is trying to block gay marriage using a ballot measure that would allow religious beliefs to trump constitutionally protected equality. Because this is America and apparently we can't have nice things. The measure, filed Thursday, would not just block gay marriage if passed, it would essentially kill it on arrival, morphing all same-sex marriages back into civil unions with the wave of a Bible-shaped wand. The Denver Post reported on Friday evening that a second, less aggressive measure would also allow "wedding-related" businesses whose religious beliefs are not gay-friendly to hire outside contractors to work with same-sex couples.
Luckily, the move was largely for show. With Colorado law requiring all measures included in the submission to receive at least 98,482 signatures in order to be placed on the ballot for consideration, it's unlikely that either will pass.
"I think this is more of a political statement than anything," said Democratic State Rep. Dominick Moreno in a comment to The Post, calling the measure "mean-spirited, vague, and poorly written." He added that the second measure allowing businesses to refuse business from LGBTQ couples, even while hiring on an outside contractor, was a slippery slope. "That doesn't change anything," he said. "You're still treating people differently based on who they are."
According to the publication, the proposed ballot measure defines the powers of the state and its angry, fundamentalist factions as essentially superior to that of the Supreme Court (duh!), giving Colorado the right to superimpose legislation that would knock out any SCOTUS ruling, such as the gay marriage decision handed down on June 26. It reads,
A marriage is recognized as a form of religious expression of the people of Colorado that shall not be abridged through the state prescribing or recognizing any law that implicitly or explicitly defines a marriage in opposition or agreement with any particular religious belief.
Executive Director Dave Montez of the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado, told The Post on Friday that the measure was an attempt to throw off the fine balance struck by the state previously, and that same-sex couples who had been married since equality was officially passed in October 2014 were proof that marriage would still be considered a personal freedom and a sacred choice (not that we needed proof to figure out that they deserved a basic privilege already afforded to red-blooded, All-American™ heterosexual couples on their third try — right, Mr Trump?).
"This initiative is an unnecessary attempt to radically redefine all marriages in Colorado in order to undermine the Supreme Court's recent decision," said Montez. "Even before last week's Supreme Court decision, the 37 states that already had marriage equality had proven that when loving, committed, gay couples share in the freedom to marry, families are helped and no one is hurt."
According to The Post, the measure was filed just in time for Independence Day (!!!) by Littleton, Colorado residents Gene Straub, who is listed publicly as an accountant, and D'Arcy Straub, a lawyer. It's not the first time the duo have filed feeble ballot measures: in 2012, the two filed a proposal that would prevent the Colorado legislature from "seating two senators belonging to the same party" and would force them to instead seat "three senators who are affiliated with three different political parties," among other things. A utopian pipe dream sure, but a dream nonetheless, right?
The two are set to meet with the state Legislative Council in a few weeks, but until then, if current trends hold, it should be smooth sailing. Go ahead, you can have your gay wedding cake and eat it too. This is America, after all.