Efforts To Repeal Colo.'s Gay Marriage Ban Dropped, But Civil Unions Legislation Still Likely

Efforts to gather approximately 86,000 signatures to repeal Colorado’s gay marriage ban with a ballot measure has been dropped by gay marriage activists, The Denver Post reported last week.

Activists had been gathering signatures since July for the measure, that if passed, would have allowed for a vote to amend the state constitution to allow same-sex marriage.

Despite this setback, there appears to be momentum building for gay and lesbian rights in Colorado with state Senators like Mark Udall wholeheartedly endorsing marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, but it may come in the form of civil unions first, rather than marriage.

One of the most influential LGBT rights organizations in Colorado, One Colorado, is focusing its energy on passing civil unions legislation -- a bill that would be voted on by state Senators and Representatives -- rather than a a ballot vote by Colorado citizens.

Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, issued this statement about the dropped initiative:

We applaud the spirit of this well-intentioned proposal. While we fully support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, at this time, One Colorado is focused on pursuing legislative remedies to the inequalities that LGBT Coloradans are facing. In these difficult economic times, we cannot ask Coloradans who are struggling to make ends meet to finance a multi-million dollar ballot initiative. Legislators should have the courage to take the necessary steps to ensure that all families have the tools they need to protect and take care of one another.

According to a recent Public Policy Polling survey, Coloradans overwhelmingly support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. While the voters polled were largely split on same-sex marriage, 45 percent wanting it legal and the same wanting it kept illegal, 71 percent of voters polled were in favor of extending civil union rights to gay and lesbian couples, including 57 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats.

Read the full results of the Public Policy Polling survey here.