Gay rights group One Colorado endorses Hickenlooper in guv race

In its first election season campaign endorsement, One Colorado has come out solidly for Democrat John Hickenlooper in the three-way governor’s race.

“As mayor of Denver, Hickenlooper has created an environment that emphasizes equality and fairness,” said One Colorado Executive Director Brad Clark, who pointed to the fact that Hickenlooper, for example, has appointed members of the gay community to leadership roles and established Denver’s pathbreaking Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Commission.

The endorsement comes as little surprise. Hickenlooper’s opponents, GOP candidate Dan Maes and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, have either little record on gay rights and feel embattled by the cause, as is the case with Maes, or a long record of policy opposition to gay rights, as is the case with former Congressman Tancredo.

Maes posted a video on social issues at his website that will make no friends among the gay community.

Maes “congratulates conservatives who have learned that, when we’re talking publicly, that we don’t want to get on single issues that will detract from the primary issue of the economy.” He goes on to cast the move for gay rights as a “political agenda” that would infringe upon the rights of conservatives. At one point, he addresses gays directly in the video, saying that his opposition to their rights is a “sacred matter” and “biblical” and that it is not about hate.

“I will tell you that I am a conservative and I am a Republican and when asked I will absolutely not back down when I am challenged on the issues on life and marriage and guns, et cetera.”

“I am pro-marriage between a man and a woman. The gay and lesbian agenda has some legitimate points, and we want to have a civil and reasonable conversation with these political interests. But let me make this clear: we draw the line here and now on marriage between a man and a woman and we draw the line on benefits for same sex partners. The agenda must be halted. Our rights are also important as conservatives. We ask that you respect our beliefs as well. And these beliefs are sacred to us. They’re biblical to us. And we will stand firm on these and I personally will stand firm on these issues. But I ask for a respectful dialogue. The word ‘hate’ must go away. None of us hate you. We have certain philosophies we want to honor and we want to honor you too. But please respect some of our positions so we can respect yours.”

Tancredo’s views on gay rights are well-established. He strongly opposes extending equal rights and benefits to gay people and voted against rights extensions in Congress. He opposes gay marriage. He opposes civil unions for gay people. He opposes extending federal benefits to same-sex partners. He opposes allowing gay people to serve openly in the military.

“We have to remember that we are always just one kooky judge away from actually having homosexual marriage forced on all the rest of us,” he said during a presidential debate in 2008. “Therefore we need, we absolutely have to have, a constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage].”

Clark told the Colorado Independent that One Colorado would look for Hickenlooper as governor to work for increased recognition of same sex couples and the rights of their family members to expect equal protections under the law and for expansions on protections against discrimination and abuse for students– gay students but also students of color and students with disabilities.

Hickenlooper’s campaign did not return email and phone messages.

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