Ref. I Failed? Just Get A Lawyer And Pretend!

David Harsanyi, a Denver Post columnist who once referred to the outcome of a transgender workplace discrimination case as “government-backed blackmail,” is now focusing on same-sex couples in his latest article, and shelling out advice amid the failure of Referendum I.

The guidance?  Just get a lawyer. Or if you can’t afford one, then just pretend that you’re entitled to legal rights.
From the column:

“Last week, a woman I’ve known for most of my adult life died,” she wrote. “She was a lesbian. Her partner of 35 years had to call her parents here to bury her. My friend could not bury her life companion because they were not married – they were lesbians.”

Secondly, the letter writer, and so many others, simply misunderstand social conservatives. I’ve come to know many evangelicals, and they do not view their opposition to gay marriage as a form of intolerance. It’s precisely the opposite. They see it as a defense of children, family and the common good.

And here comes one solution…that might not even work:

But Douglas Joffe, a Denver lawyer who deals with civil unions among many other issues, says there are other ways for gay couples to create sort of a de facto civil union.

Joffe stresses that each situation is different, so see a lawyer.

“Even if you have everything, there is no guarantee you won’t have to fight,” he goes on. “But at least, with the paperwork, you’ll have a much better chance of success.”

But what if same-sex couples can’t afford a lawyer?

No, it’s not perfect. It’s probably not cheap. And it’s definitely undeserved.

So, I would modestly add another suggestion. Just because the state tells you you’re not married doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act or feel married.

You know, say things in public like … “My handsome husband and I went to see so and so,” or … “My wife! Isn’t she just soooo beautiful?”

But pretending doesn’t offer much comfort to individuals like this letter writer in the Rocky Mountain News, who asks honestly if she is a second-class citizen in Colorado:

I have asked myself several times if I am a second-class citizen, if I am a good person, a moral person because of whom I love, and what I am. I did not choose to be denied basic fundamental legal rights, I did not choose to be oppressed day to day, and I did not chose to be apparently immoral.

But, the truth is, I am not immoral, I have faith and a spiritual life. I am a legal citizen of the United States, born and raised in Colorado, and I will not rest easy at night until I know my rights as a citizen will be accounted for.

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

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