Call it the dawn of new era for Colorado for Family Values. I have reserved the name of my new organization (call it CFV for short) to conduct business in the state of Colorado, and have established the following mission statement, filed with the Secretary of State’s office:
“A nonprofit company dedicated to respecting the values of all Colorado families.”
That’s right. All families. Straight, gay, with child, childless, one-parent, two-parent, adopted-parent – all families are welcome and respected under my big tent, reflecting the kaleidoscope of the real world.
Keep reading.And, my attorney has already agreed to, if necessary, send a cease and desist letter to another group that is operating with the same name – you may remember them as the sponsors of Colorado’s 1992 anti-gay Amendment 2.
Back in 1992, an organization formed in Colorado Springs. Led by car dealer Will Perkins and a strident executive director named Kevin Tebedo, the group called itself Colorado for Family Values, though in truth the organization’s focus was far more narrow – to enact laws designed to desciminate against homosexuals and to battle efforts by gays and lesbians for broader acceptance in society.
With plenty of help from Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, in 1992 CFV sponsored and passed Amendment 2, which was designed to prohibit gays and lesbians from being able to seek protected legal status.
Among other tactics, CFV successfully sold Amendment 2 to Colorado voters with the catchy, if misleading, phrase, “No Special Rights,” as in, gays and lesbians should not have any.
The law was ultimately declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court but immediately after Amendment 2 passed, the organization’s leaders took their winning formula onto the national stage – where they became, at least until the mid-1990s, the darlings of the homophobic right.
But by the late 1990s, Colorado for Family Values had faltered. Tebedo, the son of then-state Senator MaryAnne Tebedo, had become increasingly visible in the Patriot Movement, an anti-government phenomenon whose members rejected the federal government as nothing more than a “corporation.” His involvement with this unsavory crowd proved to be embarrassing among his more traditionally conservative supporters, and he resigned.
After Tebedo’s departure, the organization spiraled downward. Donations dropped off, and, according to paperwork filed with Colorado’s Secretary of State, the old Colorado for Family Values was administratively dissolved more than five years ago, on April 1, 2002.
Which brings us to the present. Last month, on June 11, the blogsite Colorado Conservative Project posted the following notice under the header: “New Family Group in Colorado.”
This is how Colorado for Family Values was described:
“The group that originally passed Amendment 2 in Colorado, has been reformed to fight for family values.”
The blogger at Colorado Conservative Project advised readers to “please check out Colorado for Family Values’ Website,” and noted that the site had linked the organization under its “Defenders of Liberty” section.
Subsequently, the Colorado for Family Values link was also added to the blogsite “Political Pale Horse.”
The Website’s current content includes references to two laws passed earlier this year, HB 1330, Colorado’s two-parent adoption bill, and Senate Bill 25, which broadens the definition of workplace discrimination. (The CFV Website calles HB 1330 “The Homosexual Adoption Act” and SB25 “The Homosexual and Trans-sexual Enforcement Act” and describes it like this:
“Sponsored by the first ever openly homosexual member of the Colorado legislature, this bill will force every Colorado citizen to accept, affirm, and even pay for the lifestyle choices of homosexuals and transsexuals.”
Internal Revenue Service records indicate that a group called Colorado for Family Values, filed a 990 tax document for the year 2005 as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which covers civic leagues and social welfare organizations. Colorado Springs resident James Witmer, who has long been affiliated with the dissolved organization, is listed as the executive director, with a full-time salary in 2005 of $41,680.
Only problem is, as noted above, Colorado for Family Values has been, officially, dissolved in the state of Colorado for more than five years. That means it is not currently registered – as operating businesses are required to do. Though the penalties are not severe for operating without being registered, the Secretary of State makes it quite clear what the rules are when an organization is dissolved.
Essentially, the name is up for grabs.
The following are the two relevent points, from the “frequently asked questions” section posted at the Secretary of State’s Website:
QUESTION: My entity was administratively dissolved and now the name of my entity is being used by another business. Why did the Secretary of State allow another entity to use my business name?
ANSWER: Prior to October 1, 2005, failure to file the annual report or maintain a registered agent resulted in administrative dissolution. Prior to July 1, 2004, names of administratively dissolved entities were protected for 120 days after the date of the administrative dissolution. On the 121st day, the name was available for use. After July 1, 2004, the names of administratively dissolved entities are protected for 400 days from the date of administrative dissolution. On the 401st day, the entity name and any associated trade names are changed to include the word “dissolved” and the date of dissolution. The original entity name and all associated trade names become available.
QUESTION: After filing articles of dissolution, when does a name become available for use?
ANSWER: If an entity voluntarily dissolves, its name and any associated trade names are changed to include the word “dissolved” and the date of the dissolution. The original entity name and all associated trade names would then be immediately available.
On Sunday, July 8, I, Cara DeGette, reserved the name Colorado For Family Values, Inc. with the Secretary of State, along with the above-identified mission statement. My attorney has informed me that if this other group continues to capitalize on or profit from the use of my name, I could potentially seek legal remedies, including recovering any monies they receive in my name.
I really have no interest in doing that, and so I respectfully am asking the other group to cease and desist. It is time to move Colorado for Family Values in a new direction.
That other group’s time has passed.
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org