Good news! Week of June 11- 17, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine. And that’s fine. Something I’m missing? Add it in the comments.

LGBT:

Massive Marches may move us, but the  biggest and gayest parade this year in Colorado will be Pridefest, this Sunday June 18. Civic Center Park will host the celebration all weekend. For your daily minimum requirement of fabulousness, go to Pridefest Denver. (Photo from 2016 Pridefest, Wikipedia Commons)

Pridefest Denver 2016 -from Wikipedia commons

LGBT hero: One of the Capitol Police agents wounded in the recent terrorist attack in DC was Crystal Griner, a married lesbian woman. Griner and her fellow officers, including David Bailey , rushed the shooter, taking him down and preventing a massacre.

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Watch out for the “Proud Boys” and other violent racists today

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At the State Capitol now (Saturday, July 10, 2017) at 4 pm. Antifa counterprotesters at the bottom of the hill, #marchagainstsharia protesters at the top, marshalls in between. Via twitter, Anna V Smith, High Country News.

From Unicorn Riot, (@UR_ninja)  pictures of the Proud Boys and others ready to spread hate and fear today:

From Unicorn Riot, photos of Proud Boys, neo-nazis, and other racists at the Capitol today.

Proud Boys, a white supremacist, violent organization of young males , had a rally in Boulder on June 3, 2017, and plan another “Anti-Sharia March” in Denver at the Capitol from 3:30 – 6 pm on Saturday, July 10. EDIT: The Anti-Sharia Marches are organized by ACT for America, (Facebook link here) .  These anti-Sharia Marches are in 19 cities nationwide. A wide coalition of racist, violent, anti-Muslim groups are attending, including ACTforamerica, the ProudBoys, the Oathkeepers, and the Threepercenters (shown below in Atlanta).  The Southern Poverty Law Center is live-blogging them. You can follow the hashtag #hatewatch or #CounterActHate.

Proud Boys in Boulder June 3, 2017

Proud Boys, Boulder 6/3/17
Attribution: Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer, Boulder Daily Camera

On June 3, in Boulder, a dozen or so of  the “Boys” demonstrated at the Boulder courthouse, behind police barricades. They were met by about 250 counter-protesters, including some “AntiFa” (Antifascists) dressed in black, with black kerchiefs covering their faces. At some point during the counter-protest, someone threw firecrackers at the Proud Boys, and one of the counter-demonstrators was arrested.

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Good News! Week of June 3-June 10

(Get More…Gooder! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary, which I hope to publish every Friday, will be all about small victories in the big battles: People doing the right thing for the right reasons. Stories of bravery, generosity, caring, and integrity. Where possible, I’ve connected this to Colorado politics and stories.

This is a selfish project for me – I need to see those small victories and uplifting stories just to keep going as an activist. Without them, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and attacks on democracy and civil rights, and simply stop trying to keep politicians accountable.

There are many “good news” items I haven’t covered; more possible categories for good news are: Race, discrimination, justice, bizarre news, animals, marches, town halls, community organizing, “the resistance”. Where another organization such as ProgressNow Colorado reports on “How to fight back this week”, I’m not going to duplicate coverage. As always, add your own “good news” stories and commentary.

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Oh, The Inanity!

There are a lot of big issues in the news this week. This is not one of them.

Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute for Manufactured Angst is hopping mad about a new movie in theaters this weekend. According to the Director of the Centennial Institute, Jeff Hunt, the timeless story of a woman falling in love with a water buffalo is being ruined — RUINED! — because one of the minor characters might be a homosexual.

Ernest Luning has the story for the Colorado Statesman:

Colorado’s Centennial Institute is spearheading a campaign urging Christians to boycott Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” because the film purportedly includes an onscreen “exclusively gay moment” and its openly gay director has demonstrated a “hostile approach to the Bible.”

“What was frustrating about this film was we clearly saw there was an attempt to drive an agenda, and an agenda that was offensive to people who embrace and support traditional family values,” Jeff Hunt, director of the Lakewood-based Centennial Institute, Colorado Christian University’s think tank, told The Colorado Statesman…

…The movie — a faithful live-action remake of the animated 1991 Disney classic — has set tongues wagging at reports the character LeFou, the main villain’s sidekick, portrayed by actor Josh Gad, is gay and has a “gay moment” on screen.

According to the online culture magazine Vulture, the “gay moment” occurs when LeFou dances for “two seconds at the most” with a villainous henchman amid a flurry of celebration at the end of the movie. Other reviewers say there might be a few winks and sidelong glances, but some also insist that reports the movie features Disney’s first openly gay character are a stretch at best.

“If this was a film about a woman falling in love with an animal, I’m sure we would have something to say about that.”

You might be more familiar with the Centennial Institute at CCU because of the annual gathering it hosts in Denver each summer called the Western Conservative Summit (WCS). Last July, Donald Trump’s speech at the WCS marked his first visit to Colorado as the likely Republican nominee for President.

The Centennial Institute was founded in 2009 and run by former State Senator John Andrews until he retired last year. Over the years the Institute has grown increasingly militant in its public statements and fundraising pitches, employing fantastical phrases like “the secularist Left” and railing against “radical, anti-God liberals” of the world. We briefly considered ignoring this story altogether, rather than giving them any more publicity, but this protest is so ridiculous that it deserves all of the sunlight and associated mockery that comes with it. Plus, Luning’s story contains perhaps the best quote we’ve read this year:

[Hunt] also brushed aside a joke that’s been making the rounds — what’s the big deal about a gay character when the heroine is falling in love with a water buffalo?  — since the controversy over the movie’s “gay moment” emerged.

“He’s a man first,” Hunt said with a chuckle, pointing out that a spell has turned a prince into the Beast and that Beauty’s love turns him back into a man.

“If this was a film about a woman falling in love with an animal, I’m sure we would have something to say about that,” he added.

Beauty and the Beast is in theaters everywhere this weekend. Go see it twice.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 2)

You dirty son of a groundhog! Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter after emerging from his palace this morning and seeing his shadow. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► There are growing concerns about President Trump’s mental and emotional fitness, and it’s becoming a problem in international relations. On Wednesday, President Trump hung up the phone during a conversation with the Australian Prime Minister. From the Washington Post:

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.

Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”

Also on Wednesday, Trump may or may not have threatened to send U.S. troops into Mexico.

Trump has a position on a topic, and everything else is wrong. If you are concerned about any of this, President Trump says, “Just don’t worry about it.

 

► President Trump’s over-the-top rhetoric may be fun for campaigns and television shows, but it may actually backfire in International diplomacy. From the Washington Post:

President Trump and Iran traded sharp statements Thursday, with Trump amplifying warnings over Tehran’s missile tests and a top adviser to Iran’s leader saying it was not the first time an “inexperienced person has threatened” his country.

The exchanges reflect the Trump administration’s toughening stance on Iran, but also point to wider changes in the White House as it advances a combative and iconoclastic ­foreign policy. The shifts appear to ­sideline traditional diplomacy and concentrate decision-making among a small group of aides who are quickly projecting their new “America first” approach to the world.

Just before the Senate confirmed Trump’s new secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, on Wednesday, national security adviser ­Michael Flynn made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to deliver a stern warning to Iran over its most recent ballistic missile test.

Trump bangs his fists, and Iran shrugs.

 

► It’s an icy day in Metro Denver, which is something Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos is growing quite accustomed to feeling. After a series of shaky performances during the confirmation process, DeVos may need a tie-breaking Senate vote from Vice President Mike Pence to make it into the Department of Education. As we noted in this space yesterday, DeVos has lost the support of two Republican Senators after demonstrating during the last few weeks that she has very little understanding of what her proposed job entails.

As the Colorado Statesman reports, a growing number of state lawmakers are also voicing their opposition to DeVos.

 

The fight is on over the Supreme Court now that Donald Trump’s nominee has been announced. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) wasted no time in sitting down for a meeting with Judge Neil Gorsuchwhich is more than Gardner would even consider for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Homophobic Williams to run for Chaps’ old House seat

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Constituents of House District 15 in El Paso County have been represented for almost two years  by a homophobic, gaffe-prone politician with ethical challenges:  Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt, aka “Dr. Chaps“. Now, unless mass sanity strikes, they will probably be represented by another gay-bashing, hot-tempered, inexperienced  politician: David O. Williams.

“Chaps” announced that he would not run again for HD15; he is now running against Bob Gardner for  SD12,term-limited Senate President Cadman’s district. Chaps’ long-suffering constituents should have had a reprieve from embarrassing stories about their duly elected representative. Klingenschmitt’s greatest hits have included claiming that a brutal assault on a pregnant woman was God’s punishment, saying that Rep. Jared Polis wants to behead Christians, and being under IRS investigation for possible  financial misconduct.

david o williams

David O. Williams, candidate for HD15

Unfortunately, House District 15’s new Republican nominee, David O. Williams, looks to be potentially every bit as embarrassing as Chaps. Homophobia? Check. Lack of elected experience? Check. Hot temper – Shoot first, then aim? Check. Dubious financial history, only ever employed in his father-in-law’s business, kicked out of the only two positions he’s ever been elected to ? Check. Add to this access to weapons and $2,000 from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners in 12/2013, and EPCO HD15 voters may have another embarrassingly rocky two years ahead of them.

David Williams is the son-in-law of his employer,  Doyle McAlister, who was a registered sex offender in 2013.  McAlister’s company, MKW Global Sourcing, is primarily in the Chinese export-import business.  MKW employs Williams as Program Manager.

Williams ran for HD15  in 2014, but Dr. Chaps got the nod from the El Paso County delegates. Williams’  homophobic behavior is well known, and has included booing a “Log Cabin” gay delegate; threatening someone else with an AR15; discriminating against funding of gay clubs as UCCS Student Body President, and fostering a climate of gay-bashing and bullying during his tenure, because of which he was finally impeached.

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Just How Bad Did The “Pray The Gay Away” Debate Get?


One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBT advocacy group, is circulating the video you can see above highlighting the, um, the lowlights from the recent debate in the Colorado House over House Bill 16-1210–legislation that would ban the widely-discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy” by licensed mental health professionals seeking to “cure” LGBT Coloradans of, you know, their gayness.

News reporting on the passage of this bill in the Democratic-controlled House did take note of the comments from some Republican lawmakers during this debate, in particular Reps. Kathleen Conti and Tim Leonard–comments that appeared to directly compare “curing” LGBT Coloradans to seeking treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction. Those reports frankly don’t do the comments you can hear in the video above justice. These comments and questions betray a fundamental prejudice against LGBT people held by at least some Colorado Republican lawmakers.

We’ll note just a small portion of Rep. Leonard’s remarks in particular from 1:30 into the video:

LEONARD: Representative Conti um, had a question that was similar, which was if someone came to you saying you know, I have a, all my friends are involved in drugs and alcohol, and you know, I think I’ve got to get out of this, I don’t think it’s going anywhere, would you ever be prevented to, saying, I can’t counsel you out of that lifestyle, but I can tell you you’re not fat or you’re not this or that’s now your value versus theirs…

Obviously, the comparison Rep. Leonard is making here is unambiguous. But we were forwarded the response Leonard sent to one of the witnesses in committee testimony on the bill when challenged about these remarks:

Your’s, and other’s, claims that there was a comparison made between homosexual attraction and drug/alcohol addiction were mistaken. None were made. Any questions directed at the child psychologists testifying were directed at other reasons that a child might be seeking therapy from that counselor. No connection was made between the two issues — it was for questions seeking answers for other issues the therapist might counsel children.

This is no different than asking an auto mechanic testifying on his changing oil with other services he might see other customers, like changing tires or replacing anti-freeze. It would be inaccurate to state that the questions were comparing oil to anti-freeze…I cannot speak for Rep. Conti, but my questions were directed into gathering information on how the psychologist would counsel children on other issues.

Rep. Leonard doesn’t like being called out for this highly offensive comparison, but it is what it is…and it is nothing like replacing anti-freeze.

As the nation has rapidly shifted from institutional discrimination against LGBT Americans to acknowledgement of their rights to live in peace and function in society, there is a segment of our political culture that has been left behind. We would be remiss not to remind you that forward-thinking Republicans here in Colorado and elsewhere have tried to put daylight between themselves and the bigoted holdouts–who crush Republican dreams of reaching out to the next generation of voters.

Which, at least here in Colorado, they just did again.

GOP Cheers Huge Capitol Rally For Rev. Franklin Graham, Hater

UPDATE: A slew of Colorado GOP legislators join hands at Franklin Graham’s rally today:

legislatorsgraham

From left: Sen. Kevin Lundberg, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, Rep. Patrick Neville, Rep. Dan Nordberg, Rep. Clarice Navarro, Sen. Larry Crowder, (we think) Rep. Kim Ransom, Sen. Laura Waters Woods, a dude in sunglasses, Rep. Justin Everett, and Sen. Vicki Marble. We’re pretty sure Sen. Tim Neville and Rep. Jim Wilson are tucked in behind there too.

Standing proud for America–just not gay America, Muslim America, or grazing fee-paying America.

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grahamrally
Photo by Sen. Laura Waters Woods

Many thousands of religious conservatives turned out today at the Colorado Capitol for a rally featuring Rev. Franklin Graham, son of legendary Christian evangelist Billy Graham, who is touring across the nation as part of his “Decision America Tour 2016.”

Franklin Graham is traveling to all 50 states in 2016 to hold prayer rallies, to preach the Gospel, and to challenge believers to take a stand and take action. He’ll be urging Christians to vote, to live out their faith in every part of their lives, and to pray for our nation just as Nehemiah cried out to God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore hope to His people.

Franklin Graham has emerged in recent years as one of the most powerful figures on the religious right wing of American politics–much more so than his father, who was more concerned with winning souls than votes. Not so with Franklin Graham, who has eagerly joined in the contemporary “culture wars,” bitterly denouncing the movement for LGBT rights as the direct product of Satan:

This is a full-scale assault against Christianity and the followers of Christ. When prayer is banned from the public square, when our President fails to defend biblically defined marriage, and he openly and zealously advocates for gay rights; when legislators rush to overrule existing laws to promote gay marriage; when schools and courts consistently suppress religious freedoms; we know we are locked in a war against the Christian faith, not culture. The architect behind this offensive is none other than Satan himself.

Graham also seconds Donald Trump’s call to halt all immigration into the United States by adherents of the Muslim faith:

For some time I have been saying that Muslim immigration into the United States should be stopped until we can properly vet them or until the war with Islam is over. Donald J. Trump has been criticized by some for saying something similar. The new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said yesterday that he disagrees—saying that “such views are not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for.” Politicians in Washington seem to be totally disconnected with reality.

Most recently, Franklin Graham made headlines as one of the principal intercessors on behalf of the militia members who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Militia members sought out Graham to negotiate on their behalf. All told, Franklin Graham has staked out his ground about as far right as 2016’s politics will allow–and as you know from the headlines today, that’s pretty damn far to the right.

With all of this in mind, you might think that Colorado Republicans, especially vulnerable legislators like Sen. Laura Woods (photo above), Rep. Clarice Navarro, and Rep. Kit Roupe would steer clear?

All we can say is, don’t check their Facebook pages.

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Elbert County Clerk: Kim Davis Lite?

UPDATE #2: 9NEWS just posted a fascinating original email exchange from last summer between a number of Eastern Plains county clerks, most of them very upset at the prospect of having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples–including the email from Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder where he explains his reasons for posting his discriminatory poster. Most of these messages will not be fondly remembered by history, but we wanted to note the very different response from Christy Beckman, clerk of tiny Sedgwick County in the northeast corner of the state:

I just wanted to comment that we are very lucky in this office as we are all comfortable with issuing same sex licenses. We all have our own religions as well but are very accepting of other peoples choices and therefore are okay with this. I’m sorry that some of you are having a hard time with it and I hope for your sake that something can be figured out.

Good luck!

Chris

In a lengthy chain of fairly disgraceful emails between a number of our Colorado county clerks, we were very happy to see this. Original post follows.

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UPDATE: Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder cuts and runs–7NEWS reports the offending poster has been removed from public display, presumably after Schroeder met with that lawyer he retained.

Too bad, Mike Huckabee was raring to go.

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Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroder.

Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder.

7NEWS has a story out of beet-red Elbert County that we suspect is going to raise some hackles in the days ahead:

It’s hanging on the wall, above the desks where marriage licenses are issued. That’s why a poster that quotes a Bible verse referencing marriage between a man and a woman is causing controversy in Elbert County.

The poster shows a bride and a groom, with a verse that reads “…each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” The verse is from I Corinthians.

Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder would not appear on camera because he has obtained outside legal counsel, but he says the poster has been up for 15 months without any complaints…

Rowan County, KY Clerk Kim Davis.

Rowan County, KY Clerk Kim Davis.

As it turns out that’s not quite accurate, and several Elbert County residents have indeed complained about the poster. And as 7NEWS continues, there’s good reason to be concerned:

[W]hile Schroeder claimed the poster was simply “a celebration of marriage,” an email obtained by Denver7 suggests otherwise.

This summer, Schroeder wrote an email to several Colorado Court Clerks discussing same sex marriage and the poster he had specifically made in response to it.

“My thought process is that they have to see the poster,” writes Schroeder in the email. “And if they choose to violate God’s written Word, then that is on their head.” [Pols emphasis]

And with that, yes, this is a problem. 7NEWS reports that Dallas Schroeder’s office has issued two same-sex marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized them nationwide, but in its full context, this poster in the Elbert County Clerk’s office is obviously meant to convey a discriminatory message to same-sex couples in a government-controlled space. Whatever the personal views of the Elbert County Clerk on same-sex marriage, he of course has no right to force residents with obliged to file for this license at his office to view what amounts to bigoted political propaganda.

But something tells us this guy is ready and itching to wage a splashy earned-media battle for just that. Kiowa’s finally going to make the Fox News Channel! Mike Huckabee can’t be far behind.

God bless America.

Lundberg supports Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank asked Lundberg Friday whether he’d back a Colorado clerk who denied same-sex marriage licenses. “I believe that they have that responsibility as an elected official to ask themselves, am I fulfilling my job or not,” Lundberg told The Post. This comment may have led, in part, to the Post’s editorial today pointing out that Lundberg “appears confused about whether state officials can ignore laws they don’t like.” The Post called Lundberg’s stance “disturbing.”

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In a string of Facebook posts beginning Sept. 3, Colorado State Sen. Kevin Lundberg hasn’t been shy about his support for Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, who landed in jail after giving marriage licences to some loving couples but not others.

Who would expect Lundberg to be shy, given his uncompromising stances on social issues in the legislature? But he is a state senator, which is why his fringe view should be aired out by reporters and others. To wit:

On Facebook, Lundberg wrote that Davis is “abiding by the laws of God and man. The Supreme Court and their inferior courts are the ones in violation of the rule of law.”

Lundberg:

Good for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who is refusing to issue “marriage” licenses on the grounds that it violates God’s law, and her conscience.

Have the Federal judges become kings and queens who can fabricate law out of thin air and then throw state government officials in jail for daring to oppose their plans? What Constitutional authority does the Federal Court have to jail this elected official for exercising her best judgement in fulfilling her duties as county clerk? If the people who elected her want her to change, they can speak through any recall procedures the State of Kentucky allows, or vote her out at the next election for county clerk, but the Federal Courts should stay out of areas of law clearly reserved for state jurisdiction.

The courts have certainly seized this power and demonstrated their autocratic intentions long ago, but they do not derive this authority from the Constitution, which is the law of the land.

In my opinion the clerk is abiding by the laws of God and man. The Supreme Court and their inferior courts are the ones in violation of the rule of law.

In a post last week, Lundberg addresses the question of why Davis shouldn’t just resign:

Additionally, many are saying that the clerk is not following the “rule of law.” I submit it is more accurate to say she is not following the rule of the Court. If anyone is actually following the rule of law, it is clerk Davis.

Bigots, Birchers, and Islamophobes in Colorado Mainstream Now

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Groups promoting hatred and fear of Muslims, gays, immigrants, unionized workers, and people of color are openly meeting in Colorado. These meetings are being promoted by mainstream Republican activists, and are aimed at influencing policy by informing local law enforcement and legislators of the  “threats” these groups pose. The John Birch Society had an Executive Dinner in Denver July 24.  RMGO is promoting an anti-Muslim training session for law enforcement, community and the public Aug. 13-15.

John Birch Society- the Founding Bigots

The John Birch Society met July 24, at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in North Denver.  Many mainstream GOP activists planned to attend, according to their Facebook pages. The John Birch Society (JBS) has a long history of racism and religious bigotry in the United States, and was where the Koch Brothers learned how to prey upon the fears of the ignorant.

In the JBS world view, communists are everywhere.

The JBS had its origins in the McCarthy era, as an anti-Communist group.  “Birchers” preached that all Civil Rights Movement leaders and actions were Communist-inspired. My father, an editorial writer for the Post, used to rail about the “Goddamn Birchers” who would oppose every piece of civil rights or anti-poverty legislation in Denver, and tried to suppress his editorials in the 1960s.

Although JBS leadership now wears three-piece suits, and meets at $50 a plate fundraising dinners in nice hotel ballrooms, their messaging has changed very little: “Those people” (leftists, feminists, unionists, environmentalists, gays, Muslims, the UN, Democrats, people of color promoting Obama’s “race war”) are conspiring to take away your American way of life,  and they must be stopped, preferably with a hefty donation to the JBS. 

The JBS contributes heavily to “Right to Work” and other ALEC- generated legislation.  Colorado legislators are rated  on the JBS “Freedom Index”. Rated at 70% or higher: Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn, Scott Tipton,  Cory Gardner, and Ken Buck . It will be interesting to see which of these Republican politicians attended the JBS dinner.

 John Guandalo: RMGO sponsored workshops August 13-15 on “Understanding the Threat” of the Global Islamic Movement

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Haters Gonna Hate (2016 Ballot Edition)

UPDATE: ThinkProgress reports, “traditional marriage” advocates may have gotten out a little over their proverbial skis this time:

A proposed amendment to the Colorado constitution appears designed to eliminate same-sex marriages. Yet it is so broadly drafted that it would most likely eliminate marriage entirely in the state of Colorado.

The proposed amendment, which would be subject to a ballot initiative if its supporters collect enough signatures, provides that “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.” It’s the last part of this text — the reference to “any particular religious belief” — that would prevent marriages from taking place in Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Mr. Hater, call your office.

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Lord have mercy on our souls.

Two men on a cake! Lord have mercy.

As the Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports:

A proposed ballot initiative filed Thursday would redefine same-sex marriages in Colorado as civil unions. A second initiative would allow wedding-related businesses opposed to gay marriage to hire a contractor to serve the couples…

Dave Montez, the executive director of One Colorado, the state’s largest advocacy group for gay rights, said the initiatives are an attempt to undo the Supreme Court decision.

“This initiative is an unnecessary attempt to radically redefine all marriages in Colorado in order to undermine the Supreme Court’s recent decision,” he said. “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.”

The first of these two anti-LGBT ballot initiatives seems to have little chance of success. Redefining existing same-sex marriages after they have been validated by the U.S. Supreme Court seems like an incredibly gratuitous insult, not to mention pointless in the face of the court’s ruling that these are marriages like anybody else’s marriage. This initiative is in exercise in exactly the kind of discriminatory logic the Obergefell v. Hodges decision struck down–that there is a difference between rights two same-sex persons have versus heterosexual couples.

As for the second initiative, we expect to see many such attempts to chip away at newly-won rights for LGBT citizens in the coming months as the battle shifts to public accommodation instead of basic legal guarantees. Without protections against discrimination when doing business or obtaining publicly available goods and services, equality doesn’t really mean that much. At the same time, this is a more nuanced argument to make with voters who aren’t familiar with the issue.

Bottom line: the viewpoint of the state’s electorate has changed dramatically since 2006, when an anti-LGBT statewide measure passed and even modest civil unions failed at the polls. The public overwhelmingly supports the Supreme Court decision upholding marriage equality today, where they didn’t ten years ago.

So no, we don’t think LGBT rights supporters should be worried about these proposals. In fact, much like Republicans have painfully learned with the “Personhood” abortion bans over the years, the biggest worry could be blowback against their proponents.

Marriage Equality The Law of the Land

SATURDAY UPDATE: Last night’s celebration at the Colorado Capitol was fittingly historic in itself, photo courtesy One Colorado:

comarriageequality

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loveisequal
Graphic via Rep. Jared Polis

UPDATE #4: Colorado Democratic legislative leaders weigh in:

“’Justice delayed is justice denied,’ and today – finally – the delay is over, and all loving families have the right to marriage. It is about time!” said Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, Senate Democratic Leader. “Today we should honor those who fought for equality before us, but sadly aren’t here to see the outcome of their struggle. And we should also celebrate the fact that love finally won. Love will always prevail over hate and intolerance. What a great day for all Americans!”

“The Court has brought the finishing touch to the long journey for equality in marriage,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver. “On the Eve of our country celebrating our freedom, may we all stop for a moment and give thanks to all who have fought the great battles for Justice.”

“Colorado Democrats have been fighting for equality for the LGBT community for a long time,” said Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder. “Today’s decision in the Supreme Court affirms what I’ve known since this fight was just getting started: no matter how long it takes, no matter how hard it gets, no matter what the opponents of equality throw in our way, in the end, love wins.”

“In the 90’s, Colorado was called the ‘hate state’ with the passage of Amendment 2,” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, co-chair of the House LGBT Caucus. “Since then, we have acted quickly and broadly on LGBT equality. Colorado set the table and helped shape the debate that led to today’s Supreme Court decision, and I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of it.”

“From designated beneficiaries to two-parent adoption, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, to civil unions and today’s decision, Colorado has been on the right track for LGBT individuals and families for a long time,” said Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, co-chair of the House LGBT Caucus. “I’m proud to have been part of the caucus to sponsor and pass the Colorado Civil Unions Act in 2013, and today’s decision finally gives all Americans the right to marry who they love.”

UPDATE #3: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver is ready to officiate more weddings:

“Finally, every loving couple in the United States may choose to express their commitment in marriage and be assured of its legal benefits and responsibilities. This is a proud moment in our ongoing march towards full equality.

“I was particularly touched by Justice Kennedy’s observation about the children of same sex couples, who have borne the burden of the inequality of their parents’ relationships, observing:

‘[e]xcluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life.’

“That stigma ends now.

“I have proudly officiated services for same sex couples, and I have my minister’s license ready to perform more.”

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UPDATE #2: Polar opposite statements two Colorado congressmen–Rep. Jared Polis:

“The road to LGBT equality in America has not been an easy one. From the Stonewall riots in 1969, to an epidemic that killed hundreds of thousands of gay men; from a Supervisor assassinated for refusing to blend in, to a Wyoming college student beaten to death for his sexual orientation, that road has been paved with far too many tragic days.

“Today is not one of those. Today is a day to celebrate, as we’ve overcome one of our most challenging obstacles yet.

“With today’s decision, the Court ruled in no uncertain terms that the bonds of love, commitment, and responsibility that all our families share exist without regard to gender and deserve the dignity of being recognized under the law.”

Compare that to GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs:

“I am very disappointed that the Supreme Court chose to utilize their power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via this decision. By undertaking this staggering judicial overreach, the Court, in its very finite wisdom, has decided to throw out thousands of years of tradition and societal structure. Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement. This decision is a slap in the face to all Americans who value this tradition of local government.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman is ready to change the subject:

“The world is changing, and while I’ve supported traditional marriage, the court has ruled a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. It is time we move forward and focus on the big debates of our day — how to keep our country safe and get Americans back to work.”

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 5)

Cinco-LogoIt’s Cinco de Mayo, which translates in Denver to “Election Day.” It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► It’s Election Day in Denver. If you still have a mail ballot at home, you’re going to need to truck that sucker to a drop-off location before 7:00 p.m. Visit the website of the Denver Clerk and Recorder for drop-off information.

 ► Republican-led efforts to pass a fetal homicide Personhood bill in the legislature came to a predictable end yesterday when a House Committee axed SB-268 on a party-line vote.

 ► The U.S. Supreme Court seems a little hazy about what to do with legal marijuana, so they are asking the advice of the U.S. Solicitor General. As it turns out, we still have a Solicitor General.


Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Steve House Jumps On Andrews’ Hater Grenade

John Andrews.

John Andrews.

The controversy continues over the decision by organizers of the Western Conservative Summit, a major gathering in Denver of Republican politicos and activists including numerous 2016 presidential hopefuls, to “disinvite” the Log Cabin Republicans as a group that advocates “contrary to our agenda and our core beliefs.” The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reported late yesterday on belated damage control attempts by the Colorado Republican Party, looking to stop the proverbial bleeding before it becomes a nationwide embarrassment for high-level candidates who were planning to attend:

The Colorado Republican Party has invited a gay GOP group that wasn’t allowed to set up a table at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver to share its booth.

Party Chairman Steve House, who took over in March, made the announcement Thursday afternoon, one day after a firestorm over the snub by summit organizers to the Log Cabin Republicans.

Western Conservative Summit organizer John Andrews is clearly on the defensive at this point, but still isn’t very happy about having the tables turned:

“We’re fine with the Colorado Republicans sharing some table space at the summit with all their affiliated groups. We’re not fine with the shaming and bullying pressure tactics of Log Cabin Republicans’ national office,” said summit chairman John Andrews.

Andrews responded further in a blog post at the Centennial Institute:

The Log Cabin Republicans were never specifically invited to be a Summit exhibitor, rather they applied and paid online, subject to CCU’s final approval. When we politely declined such organizational recognition and affirmed they are welcome to attend as individuals, they chose to make a news story of it.

Let them try. We don’t believe a private religious organization standing by its core beliefs is news at all… [Pols emphasis]

Unfortunately for Andrews and the high-profile Western Conservative Summit, their decision to exclude the GOP’s foremost LGBT advocacy group absolutely is news. With public attitudes toward marriage equality rapidly shifting away from the intolerance Republicans have capitalized on politically for decades, this controversy stands out as a symbol of the conflict over the issue–a conflict that now exists almost entirely within the Republican Party, as just about everyone else in our society is ready to see gays and lesbians vested with the same rights and responsibilities as every other American.

In short, Andrews has placed this conference, and by extension everyone who attends it, on the wrong side of an overwhelming consensus in America that LGBT Americans deserve equality. Political fallout far above the level of John Andrews and Colorado Christian University this could result in is what Colorado GOP chairman Steve House is afraid of. House made the best decision possible in a bad situation, but the underlying problem of a party at war with itself–over an issue increasingly settled outside the GOP–is still very much in the spotlight.

And this won’t be the last time it gets publicly nasty.