By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com March 05 2014 12:34 PM ET
Colorado's governor is the latest elected official of a state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to announce that he supports the freedom to marry.
In a statement buried in a Monday press release from a statewide equality organization One Colorado regarding its Why Marriage Matters Colorado campaign, the Democratic governor, who supported the state's recent enactment of civil unions, said he believes that law, logic, and love all lead to support for full marriage equality.
"We have advocated for equal rights for all Coloradans and we will continue to advocate for equal rights for all Coloradans," said Hickenlooper in the statement. "Last year, Colorado took a historic step forward when we passed bipartisan legislation recognizing civil unions. If all men and women truly have the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and if all people are created equal, then by extension of law, logic, and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage."
The delivery of this announcement comes in stark contrast to how Hickenlooper advocated for civil unions, calling on lawmakers to pass the long-languishing legislation during his 2012 State of the State address. Lawmakers passed the legislation last year, and same-sex couples began entering into civil unions on May 1, 2013.
Many in Colorado's LGBT community believed that the governor, a Democrat with a strong record supporting LGBT rights, was supportive of marriage equality, but local NBC affiliate 9News reports that this is Hickenlooper's first public statement making explicit his support for marriage equality.
Hickenlooper's support for marriage equality is also notable because Colorado has a constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage, which voters approved in 2006. The governor is also named in his official capacity as a defendant in one of two lawsuits seeking marriage equality currently pending in Colorado.
Last month, nine same nine same-sex couples filed suit in Denver's district court contending that the 2006 amendment, which prevents the state from performing same-sex marriages or recognizing those performed in other jurisdictions, violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Hickenlooper's administration has not commented on whether the governor will defend the antigay amendment in court.
Watch 9News's report on the governor's announcement below.