From Hate Comes Support: How Colorado is Paving a Path Towards LGBT Leadership
I've written about how this year holds the record for LGBTQ people running for positions in government in my post "Historic Number of LGBTQ People Run for Congress." In Colorado, there are currently seven LGBTQ individuals, which is a great feat. However, things in the Centennial State weren't always so great for LGBT people, reports the Denver Post.
On the faithful night in 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected president, Democrats were ecstatic, as an unprecedented number of women were running for Congress, many of which won. While it was a great accomplishment for women across the country, lawmakers in Colorado passed Amendment 2, which, according to BallotPedia, would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people by prohibiting the state of Colorado from adopting protections for non-heterosexual people, making Colorado known colloquially as the Hate State. This caused boycotts to Colorado-based businesses, which caused a decrease in revenue. In addition, the amendment sparked LGBT activism across the state. In October of 1995, a Supreme Court case, Romer v. Evans was introduced to repeal Amendment 2, according to Justia. In this case, many people in Colorado felt that the amendment violated the Equal Protections Clause, which, as the name suggests, says that businesses do not have the right to deny equal protection under the law. The Court decided 6-3 in May of 1996 to repeal the amendment.
However, while the amendment was overturned, Colorado lawmakers did not stop creating anti-LGBT legislation across state and federal levels. Democratic Colorado politicians helped elect liberal-minded people into the state legislature to help stop anti-LGBT laws being passed.
After Bill Clinton's presidency was over, George W. Bush, a man who attempted to create a nationwide amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, won the presidency twice. On the day of his reelection, Colorado switched from being a Republican-run state to a Democrat-run one. Under Democrat control, state legislature passed a bill to add protections for transgender people to Colorado's existing hate crime statutes. Eventually, Colorado state legislature passed laws that included protection in housing, employment, and adoption rights. Colorado is one of the few states that offers full protection under the law for LGBT people.
Even now, more and more LGBTQ people are running for positions in Congress because of the ever-popular "bathroom bills" sweeping the nation and worries over the Trump administration's stance on LGBT rights.
Being born at the tail end of 1994 in New Jersey, I am fortunate enough to have been born in a time and location where LGBT people lived and continue to live in a relatively equal state. Unfortunately, there are still many places in the United States and around the world where LGBT people are being treated unfairly, to put it lightly. Colorado, once a hot bed of anti-LGBT leadership, has now become one of the best states for LGBT people because of the unacceptable, hateful policies that were in place to harm lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. When people create hate, others fight back with love. It is my hope that across the US, LGBT people will be treated equally and fairly, as bigotry has no place in the land of the free.