Colorado Group to Target Lawmakers Who Blocked Civil Unions

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com June 27 2012 10:15 AM ET

Donors and advocates on Wednesday launched Fight Back Colorado, a group that intends to remove state lawmakers responsible for the defeat of the civil unions bill this year. 

The civil unions bill passed the Democratic-controlled senate, but the Republican-controlled house used obstructive tactics to prevent the bill for coming for a vote at the end of session last month. Some 30 other pieces of legislation also died.

According to a news release from Fight Back Colorado, “The group will engage in independent expenditures in key districts to target anti-equality legislators who would rather shut down state government than bring civil unions to a vote.”

The campaign is modeled on the effort backed by gay philanthropist Tim Gill two years ago that surgically targeted New York senators who voted against the marriage equality bill. In the end, Fight Back New York spent nearly $800,000 in four primary and general election contests to replace three anti-equality incumbents from both parties with yes votes for marriage equality. The bill passed the Republican-controlled senate last year.

According to the Denver Post, Fight Back Colorado “has not announced which lawmakers it will go after but treasurer Roger Sherman of Denver said it will be ‘smart and methodical’ about where it spends its money.” Gill, who lives in Colorado, is expected to contribute.

“The committee will engage in independent expenditures in targeted districts to reach out to voters directly through mail campaigns, telephone calls, TV and radio ads, and online advocacy campaigns,” said the group’s news release. “Fight Back Colorado will announce its targets in the coming weeks and months. The campaign will be smart and methodical about where and when it targets representatives, determining where it can have the most impact in races where anti-equality incumbents are challenged by pro-equality candidates.”

"We know that the majority of Coloradans support civil unions," said Sherman. "This May, we all were betrayed by House Speaker Frank McNulty, Majority Leader Amy Stephens, and house leadership, who refused to let the Colorado Civil Union Act come to the floor for a vote, killing the bill, and the chance for loving and committed gay couples to be treated fairly."

Watch the new video from Fight Back Colorado, where those affected by the loss press messages of "betrayal" and "accountability."