On June 26, we celebrated as the so-called Defense of Marriage Act met its long overdue demise before the Supreme Court – and the freedom to marry was finally restored in the state of California.
Here in Colorado, though, our celebration has come face-to-face with an important reality: with a state ban on marriage equality currently in place, our families still lack critical federal protections available only to married couples.
In other words, our fight is not over. We cannot rest until we have secured the freedom to marry in the state we call home.
So the question is – what happens next? What is the pathway forward to marriage equality in Colorado?
The answer is one we must determine together as a community. But whatever road we choose, one thing is clear: defeat is not a path to victory. LGBT Coloradans know what it’s like to have our families and our rights brought up for a vote – we’ve gone through it two separate times. And we can’t let it happen again without making sure we have a reasonable expectation of success.
For One Colorado, that means we are dedicated to achieving marriage equality in the quickest manner possible – but in a manner that still ensures the likelihood of victory.
And as our community comes together to identify when and how we will reach that critical threshold, there are a few things we know from looking at states that have won the freedom to marry at the ballot – states like Maine, Maryland and Minnesota.
We know that in every single one of those campaigns, building the foundation for victory required tremendous energy, time and resources: millions of dollars, and tens of thousands of volunteers having hundreds of thousands of conversations with our friends, neighbors, and co-workers about why marriage matters to our families.
We also know, from looking at Proposition 8 and similar battles, that fighting for marriage equality in our courts is a very expensive, lengthy, and unpredictable process.
So, without a doubt, our community has some important decisions to make. As an organization, One Colorado is now working to help facilitate that process – starting with an online survey we’ll be launching next week to seek the input of our supporters across the state – and assess the time and resources they’re willing to commit to this fight.
Later this summer and into the fall, we will be traveling across the state to engage our community through town hall meetings and coalition roundtables – all aimed at discussing the path forward.
Together, there’s no question that we can win the freedom to marry here in Colorado. Now, our charge is to work hand in hand to ensure we achieve that mission for all our families.