Priest Now Says He Wasn’t Representing the Catholic Church In Testimony Against Conversion Therapy Bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With Colorado Gov. Jared Polis planning to sign legislation next Friday banning licensed therapists from trying to turn gay youth into heterosexuals, a priest, who said he was “representing the Catholic Church” when he testified in March against the conversion-therapy ban, is now saying he testified “on my own behalf.”

In fact, the Archdiocese of Denver, which speaks for the Catholic Church on such matters locally, did “not take a position on this bill,” according to Mark Haas, a Archdiocese spokesman.

“I testified on my own behalf and just meant to identify myself as a Catholic priest who would be bringing a Catholic perspective to the conversation,” Rev. Matthew Hartley, Parochial Vicar at St. Joan of Arc Church in Arvada, said in an email after the Colorado Times Recorder asked who gave him authority to speak for the Catholic Church.

In his March 18 testimony before the Colorado Senate’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee (here at 1 hour 41 minutes), Hartley denounced the bill banning conversion-therapy on minors, telling lawmakers it was “outdated, irrational, in violation of religious freedom, and discriminatory.”

The Archdiocese of Denver supports the right of its religious leaders, like Hartley, to express their political opinions.

“We support his right, like that of any citizen, to participate in the political process,” said Haas.

Johnny Hultzapple, a South High Student who testified for the ban on conversion therapy for minors, objected to Hartley’s claim to represent the Catholic Church, a couple weeks before Hartley announced he wasn’t really representing the Church.

(more…)

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Cory Gardner: Rainbow Warrior?

POLS UPDATE: LGBTQ rights organization One Colorado minces no words:

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(More like rainbow washing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sens. Cory Gardner & Susan Collins at LGBT GOP fundraiser

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner was one of three swing-state Republican senators to receive money from a fundraiser hosted by American Unity Fund (AUF), a conservative LGBT rights group.

First reported by North Carolina conservative blog the Daily Haymaker, AUF hosted the $250 per person event on Tuesday at the Washington D.C. office of Hogan Lovells, a white shoe law firm with a large Denver presence.

Longtime AUF supporter Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, posted a picture of Gardner and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) posing with Timmons and his husband at the event.

Last month Timmons and his husband were honored by Equality Virginia for their advocacy for the right of same-sex couples like themselves to become parents. In 2007, then-State Rep. Cory Gardner voted against a bill to allow Colorado gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

(more…)

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Colorado Oil & Gas Association Isn’t Supporting Recall Campaigns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley).

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and State Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley should be ousted from office for supporting legislation, now signed into law by Polis, that allows for more local control in regulating the oil-and-gas industry, according to the websites of multiple campaigns launched to recall the two Democrats.

But Colorado’s largest association of oil and gas companies doesn’t share that view.

“We are not currently supporting any recalls or funding any recalls, nor do I know of any oil and gas company that’s funding recalls,” Dan Haley, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), told the Colorado Times Recorder.

Haley then asked me if I could name an oil company that’s funding the recalls.

“I saw [Democratic presidential candidate] Elizabeth Warren do a video the other day saying [the recalls] are being funded by oil and gas,” he said. “I read a Greeley Tribune story saying it’s being funded by oil and gas. I have not seen any proof that it is.”

I mentioned the Greeley rancher and GOP donor named Steve Wells, who told the Greeley Tribune that Galindo’s vote on the oil and gas bill was the most important reason for his donation to the recall effort.

“I wouldn’t look at that as oil and gas,” Haley responded, referring to Wells as a mineral owner. “I think of oil and gas as Anadarko and Noble, mid-stream companies, production companies. I haven’t seen any of our members funding it.”

(more…)

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Is It Over? COGA, GOP Senator Give SB-181 The A-OK


Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley).

Late last week, the Colorado political chattering class was taken by surprise when organizers of a ballot initiative to overturn the recently-passed Senate Bill 19-181 reforming oversight of the oil and gas industry announced they were calling off the effort for 2019 in order to assess the effects of the law on the industry. Although Senate Bill 181’s opponents expressly reserved their right to come back in 2020, they acknowledged in the AP story covering their decision that by then the new regulations will be fully in place–and the industry will have little desire to upend them.

This development underscored the emerging reality that the predictions of doom and gloom for the oil and gas industry under Senate Bill 181 were not accurate, and that the industry will continue to operate in the state subject to increased regulatory focus on public health and safety and more say for local municipalities over siting decisions: authority they enjoy with most every other land-use decision inside their boundaries.

In a must-read story in today’s Greeley Tribune, reporter Joe Moylan talks to Dan Haley of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association as well as Sen. John Cooke, Republican of Greeley–principals on the advocacy and elected sides of the opposition to Senate Bill 19-181. In this interview, Haley and Sen. Cooke effectively dismantle the GOP’s hyperbole surrounding this legislation, and candidly admit the bill is something the industry can live with:

When Senate Bill 19-181 was first introduced on March 1, there was a lot of fear about how the legislation could cause the oil and gas industry to abandon Colorado, taking tens of thousands of lucrative jobs with it.

But by the time it was passed on April 11, the bill had taken a new form. Earlier this week, Speaker of Colorado’s House of Representatives KC Becker, D-Boulder, Colorado Senate Assistant Minority Leader John Cooke, R-Greeley, and Colorado Oil & Gas Association President Dan Haley talked about how a couple of words and a handful of amendments turned a feared job killer into a bill both sides could accept…

“Leaders from both the House and Senate, and from both sides of the aisle came together to talk with industry about some concerns they had with the bill and some amendments they needed to continue to operate in Colorado,” Cooke said. “It came down to changing the language on some things to create a little bit of surety and stability for the industry moving forward.” [Pols emphasis]

For Republicans working overtime to hype the calamity of this bill to the state’s economy in order to gin up support for recall elections against state legislators like freshman Rep. Rochelle Galindo–a message that has been increasingly strained as Republicans faced allegations of prejudice over their targets–this would seem to be exactly the wrong thing to say. Given the close connection between these individuals and pro-recall organizers on the ground in Weld County, notably including the Independence Institute’s Amy “Evil AOC” Oliver-Cooke, it’s a major development to see Haley and Sen. Cooke taking the highest stated priority for recall organizers off the table.

This acknowledgement that Senate Bill 181 will not destroy the oil and gas industry in Colorado, along with the details Moylan gives on amendments to the bill that placated the industry without gutting the heart of its protections, puts the organizers of the recall campaign against Rochelle Galindo in a serious bind. The grotesquely anti-LGBT original organizer of the Galindo recall effort, Pastor Steve Grant of Greeley’s Destiny Christian Center Church, was “pushed aside” by another group who insisted they were “100% focused on oil and gas” and SB-181 was the sole reason for the recall (with a small caveat).

As of today, the reality now acknowledged by both sides of the debate over Senate Bill 19-181 can no longer sustain the rage needed to recall a sitting lawmaker from office. Recall is a penalty that was intended when written into the state’s constitution to be reserved for officials who have committed serious crimes necessitating their removal from office–not elected lawmakers carrying out their perfectly lawful duties. Every member of the Colorado House stands for election every two years, and the real reason as we now know directly from the mouths of recall strategists for this new approach is the fact that Republicans are increasingly unable to win regular elections in this state.

With the alleged “sole reason” for recalling Rep. Galindo now totally undermined by figures who must certainly be aware what their statements mean to that effort, everyone involved now faces a choice. Can they continue to prosecute a recall campaign without this core argument? Does this shift the message against Galindo back to Pastor Steven Grant’s distasteful slate of grievances? How does it not do exactly that?

There is of course the possibility that this is simply the responsible act it appears to be: the industry and a leading Republican Senator conceding that, although the intent of the law was not “stimulative” to the industry, it can be made to work. If it leads to a stand-down of the Galindo recall, and a return to a state of functional political engagement, this could be the start of something very good. For everybody. Where Republicans adopt the objective of changing their minority status in November of 2020 instead of flailing away with ultimately self-destructive tactics and messages like the hate directed at Rochelle Galindo.

Either way, this is a story everyone considering signing a recall petition needs to read.

And then decide where they really stand.

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Another Court Ruling Says Let Your Right Wing Freak Flag Fly


Grassroots activism.

As the Loveland Reporter-Herald’s Hans Peter reports, another conservative activist with an axe to grind against Colorado Democrats is the winner of a big First Amendment settlement–this time a Loveland man who was stopped and briefly charged with disorderly conduct over homemade signs he displayed on street corners protesting against now-Gov. Jared Polis’ “perversity” in graphic terms:

Insurers behind the city of Loveland will award $70,000 as settlement in a First Amendment case brought by a Loveland man who carried a sign featuring mannequin buttocks, lingerie and criticism of then-gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis…

[Bob] Cluster sued Loveland after an incident in which Cluster was detained by Officer Heidi Koehler and Sgt. Phil Metzler June 29, 2018, according to a Loveland Police report. On that day around Cluster was holding his sign in front of Good Times Burgers at the southwest corner of East Eisenhower Boulevard and North Lincoln Avenue. Police reports indicate customers in Good Times had called police to complain about Cluster and his sign.

One side of Cluster’s sign read: “As governor, Jared Polis will be breaking old taboos & barriers and making us proud again to be Coloradans.” On the other side were the buttocks of a mannequin wearing underwear with the bottom cut out and a Polis slogan regarding a “bold vision.”

We have no interest in displaying photos of Bob Cluster’s signage on our site, but if you click through you’re welcome to view it at the Reporter-Herald. Suffice to say it’s as offensive as it is predictable. The attorney representing Mr. Cluster is Andy McNulty, the same lawyer who represented a Facebook troll who was kicked off of Senate President Leroy Garcia’s Facebook page–resulting in a swift payout of some $25,000 in taxpayer dollars to that plaintiff with McNulty pocketing his fees. In this case, there wasn’t any involvement by any targeted politician, of course, and the city isn’t admitting any civil rights wrongdoing in their settlement. News reports say that a local business called police to complain about Cluster’s sign and unpleasant demeanor on the street corner.

But just as with Garcia’s decision to boot a troll from his official Facebook page, the lesson is the same for the Loveland police: it’s never worth the blowback that results from suppressing political speech. The act of suppression inevitably results in more negative exposure than anything these people could do themselves with sidewalk antics and nasty Facebook comments. And in this latter case, letting some random crank exhibit his poor taste unmolested before the voters of Loveland has no political downside except to Polis’ opponents.

So let these people do what they’re going to do. If anything, get out of the way and take photos. As long as decent people still comprise a majority of voters, they’ll know how to respond.

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GOP CU Prez Finalist Blows Basic Diversity Question


UPDATE: Gov. Jared Polis weighs in, and while he doesn’t name Mark Kennedy specifically the message is clear:

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Former Rep. Mark Kennedy (R).

As the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez reports, an interview at Colorado Public Radio with the controversial sole finalist to be the next President of the University of Colorado, former GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy, took a turn for the embarrassing when he flubbed a basic and essential question about the role of affirmative action in university admissions:

Host Ryan Warner referenced the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights requiring Texas Tech University’s medical school to stop considering race in admissions. Warner asked Kennedy what his thoughts were, in general, on affirmative action in Colorado college admissions.

Kennedy stumbled.

“I have not wrestled with that at a university yet, in that restrictions have not been as — let me go back,” Kennedy told Warner. “Can I just not answer that question?” [Pols emphasis]

No, as the sole finalist for President of the state’s flagship public university, you have to answer that question.

So Mark Kennedy did. And it was not a good answer:

Kennedy told Warner the question caught him off guard and followed up with: “I think however we do admissions, it has to be done in a way to recognize that diversity provides a benefit to all and there are many ways of doing that.”

While it’s true that diversity among student bodies is beneficial to everyone, affirmative action is most certainly and foremost meant to benefit the minority groups who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. To inartfully dance around this central fact, especially after trying to avoid the question entirely, is problematic to say the least–you might call it the college admissions equivalent of “all lives matter.”

Kennedy later told the Post that the reason for these troubling answers to a very straightforward question were the result of him worrying about being late to his next appointment, and “clarified” that affirmative action should result in neither “undue benefit or undue penalty.” Unfortunately that clarification doesn’t clarify much of anything–and honestly sounds more like a swipe against what affirmative action is, you know, all about.

Fair to say that if you’re one of the CU students protesting your new “sole finalist,” your concerns were not allayed.

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Meet The Next Republican Who Wants To Run CU


Former Rep. Mark Kennedy (R).

The campuses–Rush Limbaugh likes to call them “campii”–of the University of Colorado are alight with controversy this weekend over the selection by the Board of Regents of a ready-made controversy–in the form of a “sole finalist” to succeed retiring CU President and Republican kingpin Bruce Benson, who looks to be at least the polarizing figure that Benson represented if not much, much more. CU Independent:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents have selected Mark Kennedy as the finalist to replace Bruce Benson as CU president, citing his commitment to bipartisanship and diversity. But since the announcement, community members have raised concerns about Kennedy’s civil rights record as a politician…

Late-breaking news Thursday night from The Denver Post revealed that a Tuesday article from the Grand Forks Herald rumoring Kennedy’s move caused the board to push up the date of their announcement.

Regent Linda Shoemaker (D-Boulder) told the Post that because of this, Kennedy was not fully vetted before being announced as a finalist to the public.

“We need the press and the public to do the job in vetting him,” Shoemaker told the Post.

More from the Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez:

After the announcement, public backlash from CU students, parents, alumni, faculty and the local community surfaced surrounding Kennedy’s voting record during his time representing Minnesota in Congress from 2001 to 2007, and other past actions.

Kennedy voted in favor of restrictions on abortion and against gay marriage. He was one of 236 members of the House to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment in July 2006, which would have amended the Constitution to say that marriage consists only of one man and one woman. The vote fell short of the 290 votes required for passage in the House.

The CU Independent’s story goes deeper into ex-GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy’s voting record in the U.S. House, with a voluminous record of votes against LGBT and abortion rights. In addition the American Civil Liberties Union rated Rep. Kennedy at a dismal 7% against their scorecard.

While in Congress, Kennedy voted in support of several anti-civil rights bills, demonstrating an anti-LGBT and pro-life life stance. Kennedy also voted against support for college programs geared towards minorities and bears an unfavorable track record when it comes to higher education…

Representatives for Governor Jared Polis, Colorado’s first openly LGBT governor, declined to comment on Kennedy’s selection. Kennedy has said that his first phone call as CU president would be to Polis.

During Bruce Benson’s decade-long term as President of the University of Colorado, the institution has steadily pushed its public-facing brand toward the political right. Benson was personally consumed with the idea of “ideological balance” in the University’s faculty and curriculum, and did everything he could to promote this idea without setting off outright rebellion. The position of “visiting professor of conservative thought” was created so conservative think-piecers like Stephen Hayward could offend the student body from a position of scholarly authority. Meanwhile CU’s Leeds School of Business morphed into a white paper mill for Republican talking points on a range of economic issues.

Kennedy responded to the growing anger over his hastily announced selection as sole finalist with an open letter to the CU community, insisting that personal his views on issues like abortion and LGBT rights have changed along with the evolving “societal consensus” on these issues–consensus that’s hard to see in Mark Kennedy’s Republican colleagues today. That dryly-worded letter has by most accounts done little or nothing to ease concerns about his selection. Kennedy’s opponents on the Boulder CU campus are organizing a major protest for Monday at noon expected to be attended by hundreds if not thousands of students and faculty.

For a proud institution that has suffered from decades of fiscal neglect, followed by a period of improved solvency in exchange for corporate dependency and dubious politics under Benson, the choice of the next President is extremely important with profound implications for the future of the state’s flagship “public” university.

At first glance–which is all anybody has had–this choice doesn’t look good.

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Galindo Recall Organizers Admit It’s Not About Oil and Gas


Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley).

Another must-read story from the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy this weekend digs into the central question around the nascent recall campaign against freshman Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley–why is this happening? Is it because Rep. Galindo is a “homosexual pervert” trying to indoctrinate the children like Pastor Steve Grant, one of the original organizers of the recall campaign says? Or it it the oil and gas local control bill now awaiting Gov. Jared Polis’ signature?

Treasurer Dave Young, who preceded Rep. Galindo in HD-50, doesn’t get it–unless the answer is as simple as it seems:

A Tribune review of Young’s votes from the 2013 legislative session reveal Young’s support for limits on high-capacity magazines and for background checks for gun sales between private parties. It revealed a “yes” vote on a controversial renewable energy mandate for rural electric cooperatives that served as another basis for the failed 51st State initiative that year.

And it revealed “yes” votes on bills that increased oil and gas spill reporting requirements, monitoring requirements, increased fines for oil and gas violations and sought to change the mission and makeup of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, including forcing the commission to prioritize health and safety…

“In many, many ways, the votes I’ve taken and the policy stances I’ve had are pretty much the same (as Galindo),” Young said. “The question is, ‘Why her and not me?’ What is it about her that they’re really attacking here? I think that raises some pretty serious questions.” [Pols emphasis]

What’s the difference, asks Treasurer Dave Young? And when you look at Young’s record in the House, including plenty of votes that should by the reasoning applied to Rep. Galindo have provoked the same degree of anger against Young, it just doesn’t make sense. This includes votes in 2013, the last year recall elections were attempted and (not coincidentally) the last time Democrats were in full control of the legislature. What’s the difference, other than Rep. Young is a straight white guy and Rep. Galindo is not?

The response to this very reasonable question, not from the previously identified haters like Pastor Grant but from the “mainstream” Weld County Republicans who are trying to convince you this is not a campaign of wedge issue haters, more or less confirms Young’s suspicion.

Former Weld County GOP Chairwoman Stacey Kjeldgaard, who is leading the recall effort, in a phone interview Sunday went further when it comes to oil and gas — and the potential negative economic impact of SB 181 — being the reason for the recall.

“That’s our big thing; that’s our only thing,” Kjeldgaard said.

But then there’s this: When asked whether she would be working to recall Galindo if she had voted “no” on SB 181, Kjeldgaard said, “Absolutely.” [Pols emphasis]

Full stop. If the “negative impact” of Senate Bill 19-181 is the “only thing” driving the recall of Rep. Galindo, why would they recall her regardless of her vote on Senate Bill 19-181?

After blowing this extremely important question, Stacey Kjeldgaard threw out some empty platitudes about how Rep. Young “had connections to the community”–as if Galindo didn’t grow up in Greeley, or serve on the City Council before running for the legislature. But it doesn’t matter–by admitting that the “only thing” allegedly pertinent to recalling Rep. Galindo wouldn’t have affected their decision even if Galindo had voted against the bill, they’ve conceded the reality of the situation.

Just like Ken Buck comparing gay people to Nazis, sometimes you just have to take people at their word.

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GOP Chairman Buck Defends Comparing Gays To Nazis


Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Readers were shocked this past week by an exchange in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday between Rep. Ken Buck, newly elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, and a woman who had experienced discrimination as an LGBT woman seeking pediatric care for her children:

Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient?

The clear suggestion here is that a doctor who doesn’t like gay people would be just as justified in refusing treatment to a gay family as a Jewish person who had ancestors killed in the Holocaust would be justified in refusing to treat a Nazi. Needless to say, this comparison is extremely offensive to both gay and, by cheapening the pertinent history to crassly make Buck’s point, Jewish people.

Yesterday, 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger broadcast an interview with Rep. Buck in which he’s asked about this ghastly comparison–and Buck launched into a defense of his words that demonstrates he meant exactly what he said:

“My point was, and it’s similar to the (Masterpiece Cakeshop) baker case in Jefferson County. We’re getting to the point where we’re forcing people to conduct business that they may not want to conduct. We have to be very careful, it’s not a line we haven’t crossed in the past, we’ve certainly crossed that line with African-Americans in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and it was very appropriate not to have segregated lunch counters, not to have segregated buses, but we keep finding more and more groups that we are putting into a category of forcing people to conduct business with,” said Buck.

What Buck is trying to say here is that he doesn’t think LGBT people should be a protected class of people under discrimination law, as they would be under the legislation under debate and are in Buck’s home state of Colorado as well as 20 other states. That’s consistent with the ballot measure Amendment 2 passed by Colorado in 1992 and later found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Buck’s brazen contempt for the law in the state he represents in Congress invites its own criticism.

But more importantly, what Buck’s “clarification” doesn’t contain is any reasonable justification for comparing gay people to Nazis. The underlying assumptions necessary to make this a valid comparison are simply unworkable for anyone who doesn’t virulently hate LGBT people. It seems fundamentally absurd to even have to write this, but the Nazis were directly responsible for the deaths of six million Jewish people, and started a war that killed 50 million people globally. To compare that abominable history to LGBT Americans who want health care without being victims of discrimination is…

It’s sick, folks. And treating this as a defensible viewpoint for a member of Congress from the state of Colorado, not to mention the chairman of the state party, is totally unacceptable. We honestly do believe that in previous years, before Donald Trump desensitized the nation from outrage, Buck would have been compelled to apologize for these comments–not double down on them on prime time TV. But if it isn’t clear from this episode how deep the moral rot in today’s Republican Party runs, erupting to the surface in the hate-rooted recall campaigns against Rep. Rochelle Galindo and Gov. Jared Polis, here may be all the proof you’ll ever need.

Ordinarily one would call on the Colorado Republican Party to stand up against these kinds of outrages, like when Ryan Call called out Vicki Marble for blaming African American health problems on eating too much chicken–but that’s obviously a problem in this case! In the end, despite all the protestations to the contrary, history may be forced to conclude that the unconcealed hatred common in Buck’s horrific analogy and the stated motivations of recall organizers reflects who Colorado Republicans really are.

Want to prove us wrong? For God’s sake, somebody condemn this madness.

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In Your Face: GOP Asks “Dr. Chaps” To Deliver Morning Prayer


The subject of considerable outrage in the Colorado House this morning is the request by an as-yet unknown Republican House member for former Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt of Colorado Springs to deliver the morning prayer ahead of the day’s floor work:

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the issues with Rep.-cum-Rev. Klingenschmitt, who gained nationwide infamy ahead of and during his single term in the Colorado House of Representatives for his virulently anti-LGBT remarks both in his official capacity as well as on his Youtube “video ministry” taped programs. Klingenschmitt once claimed that a grisly attack on a pregnant woman in Longmont was “a curse of God upon America” for allowing abortion. He said that LGBT people “want to rule you” and that that gay Scoutmasters should prefer to be “drowned in the sea” than face God’s wrath.

At a moment when Republicans are facing hard questions about the avowedly hateful people working to recall Gov. Jared Polis and more recently Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley–notably House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s alliance with Pastor Steve Grant, who has vowed to recall what he called his “homosexual pervert” representative–bringing in a figure as uniquely polarizing as “Dr. Chaps” to stare down the House in his clergy robes and expect to be joined in prayer cannot possibly be an accident.

This was a very intentional provocation. The ugly message was loud and clear.

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The “Very Fine People” Who Want To Recall Rochelle Galindo


THURSDAY UPDATE: Colorado Public Radio reports that petitions to recall Rep. Rochelle Galindo have been approved for circulation–but it’s unknown which organization the approved circulators are affiliated with.

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House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

The Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports on efforts getting underway to recall House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo–efforts that loom deadly serious due to the amount of money at least hypothetically in play, and much like the nascent campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis shocking for the audacious prejudice on display by some of its organizers:

A local group working to recall Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, hasn’t yet finalized its paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, but it’s already sitting on $325,000 in pledged campaign donations from a Weld County landowner and oil and gas companies.

Motivated by the low threshold required to initiate a recall of a House member–in the case of Rep. Galindo in HD-50, a mere 5,696 valid signatures–Republican donors are ready to spend big on a do-over of the 2018 election. To put that in a perspective that should sober every Colorado Democrat, $325,000 breaks down to just over $57 for every required signature to qualify a recall for the ballot. Basically, these guys could buy every petition signer a nice dinner. With drinks.

Therefore ignoring the threat this represents would be foolhardy in the extreme.

The problem, as Silvy continues in yet another excellent deep dive story that should spike traffic for the Greeley newspaper of record, is that the people who are actually ready to organize such a recall–led by House Minority Patrick Neville–are, to put it mildly, problematic.

Colorado Senate Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s brother Joe Neville, who runs the political action committee Values First Colorado, publicly announced his involvement in a separate Galindo recall this past week. Neville is from Castle Rock, and is working to recall other legislators around the state and followed a similar recall path in 2013.

Aligned with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners’ Dudley Brown and controversial Greeley Pastor Steven Grant, Neville’s group, at this point, has no buy-in from the local group.

Part of the reasoning could be Grant himself, who in a March 17 sermon titled Reclaiming America Part 2 and published on the website of his Destiny Christian Center church, calls Galindo a “homosexual pervert,” and vows to do anything in his power to remove her from office. [Pols emphasis]

Reached by phone, Pastor Steven Grant of Destiny Christian Center Church confirmed those sentiments about Rep. Galindo, elaborating that “she’s trying to insert her lifestyle into our lives.” Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political site first reported on Grant’s sermon attacking Rep. Galindo late last week, but it was mostly inaccessible behind the Gazette’s paywall:

“My representative is a homosexual pervert, Rochelle Galindo, at the Colorado statehouse,” Grant says in the video.

“And I wrote her and said, ‘You campaigned as a moderate, and now you are legislating as an extremist, and I will do whatever it takes to get you removed from office.’ I just told her that, straight out. She needs to know before it happens.”

Grant says he told Galindo to vote against “this homosexual sex education bill,” legislation he maintains “literally removes words like ‘he’ and ‘she’ because it is offensive to those who are gender-fluid, whatever that is. I think they need their fluids changed.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s a fascinating predicament–on the one hand you’ve got rich Republicans with money to burn who would love to make trouble for Democrats after last year’s landslide election left them powerless. But the people actually working to put a recall on the ballot are themselves highly divisive figures, enough to toxify the entire effort in just a few short sentences (see above). Apparently that’s given some of the big donors pause–but with the Neville family publicly fronting the recalls before the Republican Party faithful last weekend at the party’s annual meeting, and Neville allied with the unapologetically bigoted Pastor Grant on the ground in Greeley, these are the ones bringing us all to the proverbial dance.

And as they say, you dance with the one who brought you.

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Rep. Ken Buck: Gays, Nazis, Same Difference


UPDATE #2: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark Tuesday evening:

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UPDATE: Yahoo! News:

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo, posed an even more outlandish scenario to one of the witnesses, Jami Contreras, who faced discrimination in seeking medical care for her child because she is in a same-sex marriage.

“Is it your position,” Buck asked Contreras, “that an Orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a Nazi patient?”

Nazis are not a protected class, meaning that adherents of a political ideology — in this case, fascism — are not covered by the anti-discrimination statute of the Civil Rights Act. A seemingly confused Contreras answered by pointing out that she and her wife were raising their child according to “Christian values” and wanted only protection from prejudice.

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Rep. Ken Buck (R).

We’re picking our jaws up off the floor after being sent the video clip you can see above featuring GOP Rep. Ken Buck, the newly-elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, questioning a witness testifying on behalf of HR5, the Equality Act–a bill introduced in the U.S. House to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect Americans from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in addition the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Colorado already has discrimination protection enshrined in law for LGBT residents, but federal law has never been updated to match the protection that already exists here and in many states.

From Rep. Buck’s questioning of this witness, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t respect Colorado’s version of the law:

Chairman Jerry Nadler: Thank you gentlemen for yielding. The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Buck?

Rep. Ken Buck: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Ms. Contreras, I want to ask you a quick question, you said in your testimony that, uh that you uh had chosen a doctor, and uh the doctor refused to work with you and another doctor came in and worked with you. Did you receive inferior medical care?

Witness: Uh, possibly. I don’t know, to be honest with you. So we didn’t do any research on that doctor, we didn’t have the opportunity to…

Rep. Ken Buck: Did you have any complaints about the medical care that you received from that doctor?

Witness: There were some things in that uh meeting that were less than what we were looking for and what we expected from a pediatrician, yes.

Rep. Ken Buck: Did you, is your daughter healthy now?

Witness: She was healthy at the time, luckily, yeah.

Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient? [Pols emphasis]

Witness: Um, well, here’s what I, here’s what I believe. I believe that the Religious Freedom Act, uh religious freedoms are a core American value, I think it’s very important, um, I think it’s important that you know that I was raised on Christian values, came from a Christian home. Me and my wife are raising our children on those same values, which is respect everyone, love thy neighbor, treat everyone equally, um, which is…

Rep. Ken Buck: Would you answer my question? Should that doctor be required to take that patient?

Witness: I think that there are some people here who could answer that a little bit better than I could but I think that everyone should be treated equally.

Rep. David Cicilline: Mr. Buck, if you will yield, I’m happy to answer that question.

Rep. Ken Buck: I will not yield, I will not yield.

Rep. David Cicilline: I don’t think Nazis are a protected class…

Rep. Ken Buck: I reclaim my time. I will not yield. Professor Coleman, I have a question for you.

Chairman Jerry Nadler: Gentleman doesn’t want an answer, doesn’t have to yield.

Rep. Ken Buck: Well, that’s a nice cheap shot from the chairman, I appreciate that. I didn’t know the chairman…

Chairman Jerry Nadler: It’s not a cheap shot, it’s a real shot. [Pols emphasis]

You’re reading that right, folks. Rep. Ken Buck just today in the U.S. House of Representatives attacked an LGBT witness testifying about discrimination she experienced trying to obtain medical care for her children by comparing her to a Nazi. There’s a lot we could say about this, from the very reasonable point by Rep. David Cicilline that Nazis are not a protected class of people subject to discrimination to responding at length to the sheer outrageousness of Buck likening this mother’s experience getting medical care for her children with a Nazi seeking treatment for themselves.

The more you try to rationalize this, the worse it gets.

Even in Rep. Buck’s Eastern Plains arch-conservative district, it’s very difficult to imagine a majority of residents standing behind this extremely offensive suggestion. You’ve got to be awfully deep-fried in your disdain for LGBT people to genuinely believe their children should be victimized in a medical setting as if their parents had committed a crime against humanity. At any other time in modern American history, we would think that these scurrilous remarks would be both national news and a career-ending disaster.

But in Trump’s America–and apparently in Buck’s Colorado Republican Party–it’s just another sad day.

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Stop This Now: Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg Incites Violence


Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg.

Much discussion at the Colorado Capitol today about an email blast sent out yesterday afternoon by Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. Sonnenberg’s well-earned reputation as a safe-seat blowhard nevertheless left recipients unprepared for the over-the-top vitriol exhibited in this shocking stream of consciousness decrying the “evil” playing out at the hands of majority Democrats in the 2019 legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly.

It gets a little…unfocused at times, but here are some key points:

The evil seems to be a continued agenda with absolutely no desire to reach across the aisle to form good policy. From the introduction of bills which would create safe places to inject illegal drugs with new needles given by government to giving our Presidential votes away to the populated states, this governor and lawmakers are taking Colorado down a path of destruction and socialism…

Introduced legislation that would continue Denver’s safe injection sites perpetuates the evil nature of this legislature. For lawmakers to try and provide safe areas and provide tools for drug addicts to shoot up with illegal drugs that we know are bad for them only adds to the destruction of a society.

…The attempt to make sure sex-education and health classes are taught with a specific agenda is a true overreach and are one of the responsibilities of parents. It has never been, nor should it be, a schools responsibility to teach an agenda that is more appropriately taught at home.

The agenda continues with the absence of due-process in legislation that allows an upset family member to have law enforcement remove a law-abiding citizen’s guns. A court could order the removal of firearms without hearing the other side, and then when your guns are removed, you are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent of being mentally unstable. The unintended consequence here is this: folks that are currently talking to counselors may no longer do so if they think that it may be used against them in taking their firearms away.

These are all reasons that the second amendment was adopted – to allow the people to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. The Nazi regime used gun control to disarm its enemies. We know it was evil then, and it continues to be evil today. [Pols emphasis]

The new war on rural Colorado and on its values and traditions has reached a new low and we will continue to see the wedge grow larger under the new state leadership. This capitol is an evil place these days, and constituents are correct to assume that the dysfunction in D.C. has infiltrated the state of Colorado.

Yesterday, we wrote about GOP state lawmakers openly encouraging county governments to declare that they will disregard a law that hasn’t even passed yet–condemned by the sheriff of one of the state’s largest counties as an unconstitutional abuse of power. Today we have a senior Colorado Republican Senator calling the Democratic majority and governor “evil,” likening them by name with “the Nazi regime,” and not-very-subtly suggesting that an armed rebellion would be an appropriate response to a sex ed bill–or a bill to align the state’s presidential votes with the popular vote, or a gun bill supported by over 80% of the public.

We understand that losing the Senate majority in 2018 along with the historic sweep of elected offices in Colorado at every level by Democratic candidates was not a pleasant experience for Republicans. But rationally looking at the bills under debate this year, or simply approaching this from a goal of not encouraging political violence, Sonnenberg’s rhetoric is unbelievably irresponsible. This is not how you rekindle the politically advantageous conservative grassroots outrage of 2013, which is every Republicans’ underlying wish today whether or not there is any objective justification for it.

It’s how you incite angry low-information people to do bad things. And it needs to stop right now.

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Colorado Family Action Leader Says Conversion Therapy Helps Children “Sexually Abused…by a Same-Sex Person”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Family Action director Debbie Chaves used a dangerous and false stereotype of LGBT people to oppose a proposed bill banning conversion therapy for minors.

Speaking on a religious right video podcast, Chaves warned about the dangers the bill would create for children who have been “sexually abused by a same sex person.”

She also warned of “LGBTQ agenda driving policy” at the state capitol, saying “they’re going after the hearts and minds of our children.”

Speaking on a religious right video podcast, Chaves warned about the dangers the bill would create for children who have been “sexually abused by a same sex person.” She also warned of “LGBTQ agenda driving policy” at the state capitol, saying “they’re going after the hearts and minds of our children.”

The host asked Chaves to explain a proposed bill that would ban “conversion therapy” for minors, Chaves answered,

“It would ban any licensed counselor from talking to a child about a biblical world view of sexuality, if [that child] don’t want to have a homosexual or same-sex attraction. So they would ban a licensed counselor from counseling a child towards heterosexuality.” What that means in a nutshell is, when we have a child who has been sexually abused or exploited in some way by a same-sex person, oftentimes they have anger or rage issues and they go to counseling. When it would come out that they want counseling to not have an attraction and to align their behavior with their sincerely-held beliefs, they [the counselors] would be stopped from counseling a child towards that belief and behavior. It puts children in danger. These kids that have already been exploited. Do we want a vulnerable child to be banned from getting the help that they need?”

 

(more…)

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CCU Speaker Charles Murray: “Feminist & civil rights movement” made it “obligatory to not to be critical of blacks or women”

(He seems nice – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute hosted controversial author Charles Murray Monday evening as part of its “Distinguished Lecture Series.”

Murray’s speech addressed “The State of White America” and largely focused on the widening income gap between rich and poor Americans. Following the speech, an audience member asked Murray to explain the “intolerance and fear of new ideas” of the “New Elite,” Murray’s label for wealthy American intellectuals.

Question: Could you explain why the “new elite” has become so close-minded and intolerant and just frightened of ideas if they don’t follow whatever the spiel is on NPR?
Dr. Murray: To answer that you have to say, “What does the political correctness go back to?” I guess it goes back to both the feminist and civil rights movements, which had great moral authority, certainly among the new upper class and academia. And deserved great moral authority.
By the way I’m being very speculative here. I’ve thought about this a lot; I can’t document it.
In a way it became obligatory to not say things that seemed to be critical of blacks or of women. A raised consciousness about both minorities and women that appropriately produced a sense of guilt. That’s fine- no problem with that, but it went too far. And it stifled the expression of certain kinds of beliefs and that has kind of snowballed.
So first it was African Americans and women, and then you added homosexuals and then you added the disabled and then you went on down through the list and you have one group after another who has taken a victim status which circumscribes further the bounds of permissible discourse on all sorts of topics.

Murray did not identify the “new ideas” that might be discussed if this political correctness wasn’t preventing people from critiquing African-Americans, women, LGBT Americans, Americans with disabilities or other groups that he believes have “taken a victim status.”

Murray drew his speech from his 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” which he says addresses the “cultural fissures” that have emerged in America since 1960. He explained that he would only examine “non-Latino whites” to avoid arguments that the problems he is identifying “are the result of the legacy of slavery, racial divisions or ethnic problems, not that those aren’t real problems, but “you won’t come to grips with the dynamics that have been at work, until you understand that these have been happening within the white population.”

(more…)

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Focus on the Fearmongers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Nearly three hundred people showed up at the Capitol last week to speak against a relatively narrow bill concerning sex education. Many of them were passionate in their opposition; some were outright angry.

One woman gave a graphic description of fringe sex acts that drew audible gasps from the room. Another brandished a condom and talked about pedophiles grooming children.

Why were so many people so upset about a bill clarifying relatively obscure state regulations that have mostly been on the books for five years?

Quite simply, they were lied to.

Religious right advocacy groups blasted out “Action Alert” emails to their followers claiming that this bill would “require children in local public and charter schools to learn the explicit sexual techniques of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.”

The email sent on January 25, five days before the hearing, was signed by “The Family Policy Alliance Team (in association with our state ally, Colorado Family Action)”

The “Team” comprising the Family Policy Alliance includes Colorado’s own Focus on the Family and two out-of-state anti-LGBT hate groups: Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council.

On the day before the hearing, another out-of-state hate group called the American Family Association sent portions of the FPA email to its followers and asked them to contact their legislators.

Hours later, the Lakewood-based Centennial Institute blasted its list with a very similar message under the headline: “No on Banning Traditional Family Values from Colorado’s Schools.”

(more…)

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Move Over, “Anus Granny”–Meet “Anus FISTING Granny”



Joan Poston.

The big if not altogether expected show this week in the Colorado legislature was Wednesday’s hearing in the House Health and Insurance Committee for House Bill 19-1032: a sex ed bill that requires schools who provide sex ed do so comprehensively and without discrimination. As we discussed on Thursday the testimony in this hearing went freakishly beyond the scope of the legislation, and descended into a 10-hour ordeal consisting mostly of homophobic churchgoers trying their darndest to gross each other out.

For many years, testimony on bills of this kind was highlighted by Rosina Kovar, who earned the nickname “Anus Granny” for her reliably over-the-top explicit characterizations of gay sex entered into the permanent legislative record. This year, although Kovar reportedly showed up to testify, by the time they called her name she had gone home for the night. But she needn’t have worried–in Kovar’s stead we have the testimony of Joan Poston, a defeated Republican House candidate who ran against Rep. Chris Kennedy in 2018. Poston’s three minutes of fame, moderated by the extremely patient committee chair Rep. Janet Buckner, were sufficiently non compos mentis that they deserve special recognition. Transcript of the above clip:

POSTON: Hello, my name is Joan Poston. I represent myself. I am a, um, scientist and I was a healthcare professional for 20 years with um, the city of Denver. I am, um, now retired. I um, when I saw this bill and I looked to see exactly what they were talking about when they said something was comprehensive and I said, I don’t know like I guess I’m going to have to go check my notes that I had when I went and had, um, training and when I worked at Eastside Health Center about um, sexually transmitted diseases, so I’m about to give you a couple of definitions.

Fisting. Fisting is when you take your fist and you shove it up somebody’s anus up to your wrist. But if you have somebody who is [UNINTELLIGIBLE] you can go up to your elbow. This is not a healthy and and it…

REP. BUCKNER: Um, Ma’am?

POSTON: Yes?

REP. BUCKNER: I can’t quite figure out where this is going…

POSTON: This is not a healthy relationship. This is actually…

REP. BUCKNER: Is this to the bill?

POSTON: Yes, because you are wanting comprehensive fact-based…

REP. BUCKNER: Experiential…

POSTON: Experiential. Yes. Um, I’ve got another one on rimming and I’ve got another one on golden showers, but I can actually move on to another topic if you’d like me to.

REP. BUCKNER: Um, I’ve read the bill and I’m not, I do not think this fits into the bill because we’re talking about comprehensive sex. Um…

POSTON: This is comprehensive sex…

REP. BUCKNER: Experiences.

POSTON: …And experiences with gay people.

[FAINT APPLAUSE, “Amen”]

REP. BUCKNER: Um…

POSTON: You know what, if you give me another minute…

REP. BUCKNER: I think, I think…in all…

POSTON: I will change the subject…

REP. BUCKNER: Well, in all…

POSTON: I will change out the subject and tell you that…

REP. BUCKNER: Um, wait a minute. Ms. Ms., uh…

POSTON: Ms. Poston.

REP. BUCKNER: I’m just trying to keep all the comments to the bill.

POSTON: Okay, so this next comment is to the bill and it is in a different form. So let’s redo this: the population of the gay lesbian and bisexual from the Center of Disease Control in 2014, 26.6% of adults identify as straight. 1.6% and identify as gay or lesbian. 0.7% identify as bisexual and 1.1 or something else. Not sure what but something else. So in Jeffco we have about, um, 64,500 children that are between the ages of, uh fourth grade and 12th. And That means that there are 2,000 students that would be identifying with this kind of sexual education and that is one student per 30.

REP. BUCKNER: Ms., Ms. Poston…

POSTON: Based on how, just one more thing–based on how much money is not in the school’s right now and how we have Denver public school teachers who are going to go out on strike…

REP. BUCKNER: Okay. This is not to the bill. I’m sorry. And your time is up.

POSTON: Thank you.

REP. BUCKNER: Next witness, please.

And with that, dear reader, “Anus Granny” has been dethroned! The transcript spells out Poston’s words, but it’s the glee in Poston’s voice that really tells the story. Suffice to say that proponents of accurate and non-biased sex ed are not the problem here, and there may be…an unmet need in the lives of its imaginative opponents.

That’s as much as we care to speculate, thanks.

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The Sad Spectacle Of Yesterday’s Sex Ed Hearing


UPDATE: Into the self-immolating spotlight steps, you guessed it, Rep. Lori Saine:

Here you have arguably Colorado’s most infamously shameful Republican, just days off her own national news ridicule for falsely claiming that “whites and blacks were lynched in nearly equal numbers,” complaining about “radical notions of sexuality and gender” and absurdly claiming that “Democrats are compounding their over-reach” by limiting testimony than in fact continued until nearly midnight! Even worse, the photo Saine is using (originally via House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s front group Advancing Colorado) was taken from a totally unrelated and highly emotional floor speech by Rep. Buckner, recounting racism she personally endured during last year’s commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the House.

On a day full of small-minded outrages, Rep. Lori Saine manages to stand out. Again.

—–

Packed hearing yesterday for HB19-1032.

The main event yesterday at the Colorado Capitol was a marathon hearing in the House Health and Insurance Committee that ran until almost midnight taking public testimony on a single bill: House Bill 19-1032, “concerning comprehensive human sexuality education.” Here’s the bill summary:

The bill clarifies content requirements for public schools that offer comprehensive human sexuality education and prohibits instruction from explicitly or implicitly teaching or endorsing religious ideology or sectarian tenets or doctrines, using shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools, employing gender norms or gender stereotypes, or excluding the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.

Conservative Republicans organized by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute delivered an unexpectedly large crowd of witnesses to testify against this bill. After over 300 people (not a misprint) signed up to testify, committee chair Rep. Janet Buckner announced her intention to cut off testimony after seven and a half hours, but in the end testimony went on until just before midnight before the bill was finally advanced on a 7-4 party line vote.

In that time yesterday into early this morning, Democratic lawmakers on this committee were subjected to what we can only describe as the worst verbal abuse from witnesses we’ve perhaps ever seen–easily as bad as the invective from opponents of the gun safety bills passed in 2013, and offensive in a way that should trouble any but the most hardened bigot against LGBT people. Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports:

(more…)

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Denver Archdiocese Hosts Conference Featuring A Notorious Proponent of “Healing” LGBTQ People


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Activists Denounce The Archdiocese’s Alignment with Anti-LGBTQ Extremist; Giant Banner in Front of Conference Quotes Kenote Speaker, “There is no such thing as a gay person… Satan delights in homosexual perversion”

Event Comes As Colorado Is Poised to Pass Legislation Banning So-Called “Conversion Therapy”

DENVER: The Denver Archdiocese is hosting a conference Saturday led by Andrew Comiskey, one of the country’s leading anti-LGBTQ bigots, who’s stated, among other things, that “there is no such thing as a ‘gay’ person,” and that “Satan delights in homosexual perversion, because it not only exists outside of marriage, but it also defiles God’s very image as reflected in male and female.”

The event, titled “Gender Matters: Fighting for a New Generation,” is run by Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries, founded and directed by Comiskey, which works with churches on “healing” the “sexually and relationally broken.” It will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, 1305 S, Monroe Street in Denver.

Desert Stream is listed as a resource on the website of Restored Hope Network, which promotes the “transformation” of “broken sexual sinners,” including LGBTQ people. Desert Stream’s online shop offers conversion therapy books and audio in English and Spanish.

“We do face a moral crisis,” said Rev. Amanda Henderson, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “We face a moral crisis when people cause harm to others in God’s name. We are in crisis when we forget the opening chapters of our holy text, which name that all people were created in God’s image; good and worthy of love. Rather than preaching hate and bigotry, we should be speaking and acting with love and inclusion. We must honor the basic dignity and humanity of every person and assure that God’s unconditional love is experienced through our words and actions.”

(more…)

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You’ve Come a Long Way, Colorado–Let’s Party


Among the many inaugural festivities to break out your black tie for (or your “dressy Western,” this being Colorado), here is one that even if you don’t get to attend, every Coloradan should be proud to know is happening:

One Colorado Executive Director Daniel Ramos:

“As the state’s leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families, it’s important we recognize Colorado’s contributions to the history of the LGBTQ community, including the election of Colorado’s first openly gay Governor, Jared Polis. The story of Colorado from the Hate State to the Great State is a recognition of early investments from the Gill Foundation; expanding protections for LGBTQ Coloradans in areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations; protecting LGBTQ youth from bullying in Colorado schools; and ensuring transgender Coloradans can access identity documents that match who they are. Our work continues to improve the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. So for this night, we will honor the work of those who paved this path before us, celebrate this historic occasion of our country’s first gay governor, and then get back to work ensuring a more fair and just Colorado for all.”

Special guests will include:

The Honorable Barney Frank, the first gay member of Congress to come out voluntarily.

Melissa Etheridge, an Academy Award and Oscar Award winning singer-songwriter and gay rights activist.

David Mullins and Charlie Craig, the plaintiffs from the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case.

Of all the inaugural wing-wings scheduled for the second week of January in addition to the main event, here’s one more that could draw out some truly big nationwide stars in addition to headlining LGBTQ royalty. Gov.-elect Jared Polis was already bicoastal A-Lister before being elected Colorado’s chief executive, and the historic moment his inauguration represents makes it an occasion for a party like Denver perhaps hasn’t seen since hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

And when you reflect back on history a quarter century to 1992, the year both an unconstitutional constitutional amendment sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people in Colorado and another amendment stripping all future Colorado lawmakers of their most essential fiscal authority became law, this inauguration and the new straight Democratic control backing it up take on even more significance. From the Masterpiece Cakeshop court decision to the coming battles over spending priorities in Colorado, these are struggles that continue.

But Colorado has come a long way since that bad old days of 1992. We’re a “hate state” no longer.

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What’s Your Favorite Blue Wave Win?


This week’s historic victory for Colorado Democrats leaves in its wake innumerable stories of hard work and triumph. There are so many big markers for the history books, like the first gay man elected governor of any state, the sweep of downballot statewide offices, recapturing the Colorado Senate after four years at the mercy of a one-seat GOP majority, the come-from-behind wins growing the Democratic House majority to unexpected heights, major Democratic wins in suburban Denver local governments–we could go on and on, and over the next few weeks we’ll be expounding at length on what this all means.

Use this thread to tell us about the 2018 success stories you were close to, or enjoyed reading about, or anything else you found inspiring coming out of the midterm elections in our state. Before the inevitable plunge back into partisan squabbles and pundit second-guessing, take a moment to contemplate significance of what we’ve just been through.

You earned this moment, Colorado.

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Masterpiece Cakeshop: It’s Not Over


This year’s biggest Supreme Court decision pertaining to Colorado directly, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, was a lopsided 7-2 decision but a ruling very narrow in its scope. In the majority opinion, the fundamental question in the case, whether bakery owner Jack Phillips has the right to discriminate against same-sex couples in his bakery, was not conclusively addressed. The decision hinged on whether Phillips had been treated fairly by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, not the underlying question of Phillips’ discrimination against customers.

As the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins reports, this unanswered crucial question isn’t going away–and now that Jack Phillips has fashioned himself into a lightning rod, it’s no surprise he’s getting struck repeatedly:

Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that sided with a Christian baker over a never-baked wedding cake for a gay couple in Colorado, lawyers for that baker are now suing Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and members of the state’s Civil Rights Commission.

The Supreme Court’s decision rested largely on process, avoiding the deeper Constitutional issues around free speech, freedom of religion and civil rights, but lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which supported Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips of Lakewood, say in their complaint that a lawsuit is necessary to “stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”

The problem here is that neither Gov. John Hickenlooper nor the Civil Rights Commission are ‘continuing to persecute’ Phillips. Once it became clear that the decision in the case was not going to address the question of whether Phillips’ refusal to bake a same-sex wedding cake was unlawful discrimination, anyone could have predicted that there would have been another test case–and of course it was going to be Phillips getting the call. From the lawsuit as cited by Hutchins in his story:

…[S]ome Colorado citizens, emboldened by the state’s prosecution of Phillips, have targeted him. On the same day that the Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’s case, a Colorado lawyer called his shop and requested a cake designed with a blue exterior and pink interior, which the caller said would visually depict and celebrate a gender transition. Throughout the next year, Phillips received other requests for cakes celebrating Satan, featuring Satanic symbols, depicting sexually explicit materials, and promoting marijuana use. Phillips believes that some of those requests came from the same Colorado lawyer. …

Any resident, after all, can visit Masterpiece Cakeshop, and any resident can file a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission. Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws were not struck down, and if a complaint is filed it must be investigated. To the extent that Phillips is a “target,” it’s because he made himself a target. None of that is the fault of the state or the laws on the books. No one is persecuting Phillips, but it is necessary post-Masterpiece to demonstrate that Colorado’s discrimination laws are still in force.

If Mr. Phillips doesn’t like that, there are other states with more accommodating laws for, you know, bigots.

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Blowing The Dog Whistle With Lang Sias


Rep. Lang Sias (R).

A story today in the Grand Junction Sentinel from reporter Gabrielle Porter covers Republican “Lite Gov” nominee Lang Sias, delivering in Grand Junction yesterday what seems to be the party’s central message about Democratic nominee Jared Polis: he’s from the dreaded socialist hellhole of Boulder, he’s so super far lefty-left that he would be as bad as [insert 20th Century Marxist tyrant here], and that everybody he knows is excited to “work with” Walker Stapleton:

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Lang Sias may have been speaking to at least one self-described “hard-core conservative” at a Grand Junction eatery Saturday afternoon.

But more than focus on his own resume — which includes three years as a state legislator and nearly three decades in the military with stints as a Navy fighter pilot before being tapped as running mate to GOP gubernatorial pick Walker Stapleton — the Arvada resident spent considerable time Saturday casting his as the more moderate ticket.

But then, in one of Colorado’s reddest towns and surrounded by the friendliest of fellow conservatives, Sias took the rhetoric a step further:

To laughs, Sias said he’s heard from several Democrats who he claimed confided in him that they plan to vote for Walker because “the alternative is 50 shades of crazy.” [Pols emphasis]

Full stop. We have little doubt that Sias and the Stapleton campaign will protest mightily at the suggestion that this little wisecrack was an example of what’s known in politics as “blowing the dog whistle”–a statement that thinly conceals its true intention of invoking prejudice against its target, picked up clearly by a prejudicial audience. Be assured that we absolutely do understand what what Lias was saying to a crowd of Mesa County GOP faithful–not trying to say, broadcasting loud and clear–and it is not acceptable. Stapleton himself is such a poorly composed public speaker that he can’t be trusted to pull off this kind of delicate work, so it appears to have fallen to “moderate” Rep. Sias to lay down the “dog whistle” smear the base wants.

There’s going to be more of this, folks. The coded attacks on Polis’ personal life that are being mounted right now by Stapleton’s campaign–and you can’t deny it’s the campaign now–are as ugly as they are inevitable. The full display of that animus between now and November is going to compel Colorado voters to make a fundamental choice.

As for Lang Sias, perhaps we did expect a little better. Clearly we shouldn’t have.

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HOMOPHOBIA WATCH ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Conservative Talker Is Pretty Sure Polis Is Part Of “Gay Mafia” And More…


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Times Recorder will not allow homophobic attacks, implied or direct, on Democratic candidate for governor Jared Polis to fester and spread in the conservative underworld or anywhere.

Whenever such homophobia emerges, we’ll diligently air it out on our news site, as I am doing today:

On FOX News radio in Loveland, Colorado, last week, host Karen Kataline worries that the Republicans’ timid treatment of Polis being gay will make it harder to defeat Polis.

Kataline says she’s okay with Polis’ sexual orientation, but she’s “pretty sure” he’s part of the “Gay Mafia,” which thinks “they should impose their will on all of us.”

She can’t possibly be homophobic, she says, because if she “had a problem with people being gay,” she wouldn’t have been “in the theater for decades.”

She concludes by saying the GOP is being blamed for being anti-gay, without any evidence.

Conservative Colorado Springs radio host Richard Randall is fine with gay people — and he can spot them with 100 percent accuracy on the periphery of the Pride parade in Colorado Springs!

But he hates it when they rub their sexuality in his face (so to speak). Also, he objects to reality shows on HGTV featuring a disproportionate number of gay couples. And he gets creeped out to imagine what it would be like to be gay.

Randall also thinks LGBTQ people should be “writing a thank-you card” to Trump for his travel ban, because the ban keeps people out of the United States who are known to throw “gay people off of buildings.”

On his Weekly Worldview podcast, Colorado-based talker Doug McBurney proposes “Homos Make Me Sick Day.”

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Huerfano County GOP: Jared Polis is “openly gay” and “against our American values”


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE 2: As of late evening on July 2 the post has been deleted. The Huerfano GOP has still not replied to inquiries.

POLS UPDATE: Colorado Democrats jump in:

—–

In a June 27 Facebook post published the morning after Colorado’s primary election, Huerfano County Republicans urge anyone considering not voting for GOP gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton to “rethink” their decision. They explained their reason for supporting Stapleton instead of his Democratic opponent in the next sentence.

“Jared Polis is an openly gay congressman who is very much against our American values.”

Included with the text of the post is a link to Congressman Polis’ voting record. It is unclear whether the Huerfano GOP believes him to be “very much against our American values” because he is “openly gay” or because of his voting record.

A call to Huerfano County Republican Chair Debi Sporleder was not returned. Sporleder has previously signed her name to Huerfano County Republicans Facebook posts. This story will be updated with any statements received.

The party account also liked a commenter’s claim that Polis “would head us willy nilly down the socialist anti-Christian path” and who criticized Polis for not mentioning “his gayness” in any campaign ads, despite “purporting to be proud of it.”

Huerfano County is southwest of Pueblo. It is part of House District 62, represented by Rep. Donald Valdez (D – La Jara) and Sen. Larry Crowder’s (R – Alamosa) Senate District 35.

The full text of the Facebook statement reads as follows.

If you are unsure about voting in the November elections or think you don’t want to vote for Walker Stapleton, rethink…..Jared Polis is an openly gay congressman who is very much against our American values. A no vote for Stapleton is a yes vote for Polis. Check out his voting record. I’ll make posts about Stapleton, too.

This story was originally published by the Colorado Times Recorder.

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