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Former Musgrave Staffer Attends Gay Rights Event

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Colorado state representative B.J. Nikkel, who previously worked for antigay former congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, attended a luncheon hosted Thursday by a new statewide gay rights group, One Colorado.

According to The Denver Post, the visit by Nikkel and nearly 10 other Republicans is a striking sign of progress. Nikkel worked for Musgrave during the time the congresswoman championed the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have enshrined inequality in the U.S. constitution. It was defeated twice.

"State Rep. B.J. Nikkel of Loveland was among the nine or so Republican lawmakers at the One Colorado event. She was Musgrave's district director from 2003 to 2006," reported the Post.

"Also present was state Sen. Shawn Mitchell of Broomfield, whose 2003 bill limiting schools' abilities to teach about all forms of human sexuality triggered Tim Gill, a gay multi-millionaire, to open his wallet to help Democrats win control of the legislature in 2004."

According to the Post, Nikkel said, "Why shouldn't I be here? They're all Coloradans, and I think it's important to understand their issues."

Rep. Betsy Markey, a Democrat, unseated Musgrave in 2008.

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