University of Colorado nondiscrimination policy draws opposition

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 15 2001 1:00 AM ET

An effort to expand the University of Colorado’s nondiscrimination policy is under attack by a Republican legislator and a Christian group. Proposed by regent Jim Martin, the current policy—which protects students, faculty, and staff from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, creed, religion, and veteran status—would be augmented to include sexual orientation. Senate minority leader John Andrews (R-Arapahoe County) and the Christian Coalition of Colorado are trying to persuade the nine-member regent board to vote against the measure; the regents are scheduled to vote on the motion in March. “To adopt such a policy would put the university at variance with the deeply held values of most people in Colorado and outside the legislative parameters often reaffirmed by the general assembly,” Andrews wrote in an E-mail to the regents. “Please do not associate our state’s premier educational institution with a socially radical stance disapproved by so many taxpayers who fund your budget and the parents who entrust you with their children.” Martin says his motion is not radical at all. “We’re not taking the lead in this by any stretch of the imagination. We’re just catching up,” he said. “Some of our corporate leaders like Coors and Hewlett-Packard include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies.” Martin said he received 1,000 phone calls after the Christian Coalition of Colorado published an article in its newsletter stating that Martin wants “to spend your tax dollars for special benefits for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual partners.” Martin said, “This is creating no rights or obligations on the university. There is no public or private dollars being spent on this. This is making a statement from the boardroom that behavior that targets people based on sexual orientation ought not to be tolerated at the University of Colorado.”