National Groups Watching Referendum I, Marriage

Colorado is being watched politically on a number of issues, with gay rights being at the top of the list.

On one side you have Coloradoans For Marriage, a group that is attempting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman on this year’s ballot. On the other, there is Referendum I, a measure that would allow gay and lesbian couples to have legal protections through domestic partnerships, rather than marriage.

And now, national organizations-and their local counterparts-are chiming in. Just yesterday, an executive director with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a national GLBT support organization, mentioned Colorado in a weekly newsletter sent out to supporters.

“With more states considering constitutional amendments to ban marriage equality, including Colorado which also is considering legislation to authorize domestic partnership benefits, the broader issue of GLBT equality remains an important issue for millions of people this year,” wrote Jody M. Huckaby in the letter.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), another gay rights group, is also on the record supporting Referendum I and opposing the marriage initiative:

As Coloradans face a ballot question this fall that threatens to deny marriage to same-sex couples through the state Constitution and another question that would allow domestic partnerships, HRC’s Regional Field Director Colin O’Dea is working with Coloradans for Fairness and Equality, Equal Rights Colorado, and the Colorado GLBT Center on efforts to defeat the amendment and pass domestic partnerships.

Across the pond, there is Focus On The Family, a evangelical organization that is based in Colorado, but works on a national level. The organization’s leader, James Dobson, has said that his group is not in favor of gay marriage, vying instead to support marriage that is defined as strictly heterosexual.  Dobson has been more tacit when it comes to the issue of domestic partnerships, however. Focus on the Family is also a part of Coloradans for Marriage, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

But GLBT and religious organizations aren’t the only ones throwing their hats into the proverbial ring, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a legal and civil rights group in Colorado and other states, has voiced its support for domestic partnerships, while opposing the marriage amendment which the organization says discriminates against same-sex couples.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at